australian aviation logo

Government signs $500m contract for next-generation air defence

written by Stephen Kuper | April 24, 2024

Head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division, Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul and Chief Executive Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Warren McDonald signing the $500 million strategic partnership contract for AIR 6500. (Source: Supplied)

Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy has announced the signing of a $500 million contract between Lockheed Martin Australia and the Department of Defence to build Australia’s future Joint Air Battle Management System under project AIR 6500 Phase 1.

This milestone contract paves the way for Lockheed Martin to begin delivering the next stage of Australia’s Joint Air Battle Management System as part of AIR 6500. It is expected to generate at least 230 jobs directly related to its operation, along with many more during construction.

In addition to these 230 jobs across Adelaide, Canberra and Williamtown outside of Newcastle, Minister Pat Conroy highlighted that the project will also create 300 indirect jobs in Australia’s air and missile defence supply chain and provide opportunities for Australian industry to benefit from a global $83 billion export market.

“This $500 million contract continues the work by the Albanese government on next-generation air missile defence. This is an investment in our national security but also an investment in a future made in Australia which will support local businesses and create hundreds of jobs and support many more,” Minister Conroy said.

AIR 6500 will deliver four advanced air defence radars manufactured by Canberra-based CEA Technologies, with the first delivery expected later this year.


Erika Marshall, vice-president, C4ISR, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems, expanded on the comments made by Minister Conroy, saying, “We are honoured to be the Australian Defence Force’s strategic partner and lead the delivery of AIR 6500-1. At the core of this 21st century security, joint all-domain system is Australian industry.”

Ahead of the AIR 6500-1 contract signing, Lockheed Martin Australia developed an Operator Evaluation System for the Joint Air Battle Management System. This was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. Using this system, Defence’s air battle managers can access a secure test environment to provide feedback on AIR 6500-1’s design and functionality. This feedback will inform future development activities.

Lockheed Martin will partner with a range of Australian defence industry businesses, partnering with companies including Boeing Defence Australia, C4i, Leidos Australia, Lucid Consulting Australia, Raytheon Australia, Shoal Group, and Silentium Defence to deliver this critical capability for the Australian Defence Force.

Minister Conroy said, “The Albanese government is actively creating opportunities for Australian industry, through the entire supply chain of small and medium enterprises, as we deliver these critical defence capabilities.”

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand’s chief executive, Warren McDonald, commended Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia’s AIR 6500 team on achieving this historic strategic partnership.

“AIR 6500-1 will give Australia and our allies a greater level of connectivity and interoperability to counter current and future air and missile threats. In a contested and fast-moving environment, AIR 6500-1 will give decisionmakers more time to consider and respond to a situation – time in these circumstances is a precious commodity,” explained McDonald.

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

Leave a Comment

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.