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Australian Air Defence System Contract Valued at $765 Million Awarded to Lockheed Martin

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Lockheed Martin will oversee the creation of a critically enhanced, all-domain integrated air and missile defence capability for Australia following an announcement by the federal Labor government on Aug. 29.

This follows the Defence Strategic Review’s identification that an air and missile defence capability was critical for Australia to confront an evolving strategic environment.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said the program was the second tranche of what is expected to be a multi-billion-dollar program to ensure the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was up to scratch.

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“The Albanese government is working at pace to ensure the ADF is equipped with modernised capabilities that will allow it to transition into a genuine integrated force optimised for national defence as we implement the findings of the Defence Strategic Review,” he said.

“The new Joint Air Battle Management System and the Medium-Range Ground-Based Air Defence System will contribute effective capabilities as part of an integrated ADF. These capabilities are essential in our pursuit of preserving and protecting our sovereignty and security while also promoting stability in our region.”

The government will commit $765 million to the new Joint Air Battle Management System program known as AIR6500 Phase 1 (AIR6500-1), which they expect will provide greater situational awareness of advanced air and missile threats and increased interoperability with international partners.

It also estimates that the project should generate up to 230 jobs in high-tech areas, including software development, systems engineering, project management, and logistics.

South Australia (SA) and the Hunter region of New South Wales will see the bulk of this job generation, with an estimated 150 jobs needed in SA and another 60 in the Hunter Valley. Additional roles will also be required in Brisbane and Canberra.

Lockheed Martin Says Local Air Defence Program Transformational

Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems Executive Vice President Stephanie Hill said the AIR6500-1 program could be a benchmark for the world.

“Australia’s AIR6500-1 program is truly transformational. It will set the blueprint for future military Joint All-Domain Operations across the globe,” she said.

“We are honoured to be selected as the trusted strategic partner to lead and deliver this important sovereign capability, in partnership with Australian industry, to the Australian Defence Force,” said Ms. Hill.

This first-of-its-kind system will provide the ADF greater situational awareness and security against increasingly advanced air and missile threats, as well as provide increased levels of interoperability with the United States and other partners like the UK.

Benefits to Australia

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand’s CEO Warren Macdonald said that the company is taking a team approach to the project and that “the majority of the program workshare will be allocated across Australian industry.”

Currently, the company has validated more than 130 Australian small to medium enterprises as potential partners and awarded 10 contracts to Australian firms, including Leidos Australia, Consunet, Consilium, C4I, Silentium, Penten, and Lucid Consulting Engineering.

“We recognise a team approach is vital to the success of AIR6500-1 in building a sovereign Australian IAMD capability,” Mr. Macdonald said.

“This approach will ensure Australian small to medium enterprises have ‘box seats’ in the global supply chain. The Integrated Air and Missile Defence sovereign technologies being created in Australia today will be exported to the world in the future—unlocking a $83 billion export market for Australia’s defence industry.”

The company has also committed $74 million to establish the nation’s future IAMD ecosystem to accelerate collaboration between academia, industry, defence, and allied partners on IAMD capabilities, which is expected to create more than 400 direct and 1,000 indirect local jobs.

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