The Australian government has taken a step forward in delivering a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise, officially announcing strategic partners Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia. 

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said three Australian-based companies – The Australian Missile Corporation, The Sovereign Missile Alliance and Aurecon Advisory- will support prime contractors as sovereign industry partners of the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise. “Australia’s strategic environment is becoming more complex and challenging, the Indo-Pacific now sits at the epicentre of global strategic competition,” Dutton said. “It is imperative that we work closely with like-minded countries and industry partners to develop a more capable military force to defend Australia. I am pleased to announce Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia have been selected as initial industry partners of the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise. These two companies, along with their US-based parent companies, are the largest suppliers of guided weapons to Defence. We will be working with them to rapidly increase our ability to maintain and manufacture guided weapons and their components in Australia. We know we need to work closely with our partners to bolster our self-reliance and this is another major step in delivering that sovereign capability here in Australia.”

The announcement comes as Dutton officially opened a new $96 million state-of-the-art maintenance facility for Navy guided weapons in at Orchard Hills in Western Sydney. “The facility is a world first for its inherent safety and functionality, and will include advanced software to optimise weapons maintenance,” Dutton said. “It is also just one example of the infrastructure that will need to be delivered in coming years to support our Sovereign Guided Weapons eco-system in Australia. We are building new facilities and infrastructure to ensure we get the maximum lethal capability from our current missile stocks today and we are partnering with two of the world’s foremost missile makers to build our own manufacturing base in Australia in the future.”

Dutton emphasised the increasing opportunities for Australian industry as the enterprise continues to grow. “This is an incredibly complex undertaking that will see this new manufacturing capability built from the ground up. Accelerating the guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise will be a whole-of-nation endeavour. Our prime industry partners will work with a panel of local Australian-based providers to deliver an array of necessary infrastructure to support this program into the future. There will be many opportunities for Australian companies and workers, not just in manufacturing but in maintenance, infrastructure, research and development and test and evaluation. This is an important step towards delivering a necessary capability and is further demonstration of the Morrison government’s commitment to protect our sovereignty and keep our nation safe.”

Michael Ward, managing director for Raytheon Australia, said “It is an honour to welcome today’s announcement from the Government and Defence that Raytheon Australia has been chosen as a strategic partner in the Guided Weapons Enterprise, alongside our industry peer, Lockheed Martin Australia. Together, we look forward to building this critical capability for the Australian Defence Force – one that will exponentially boost our national sovereignty. Importantly, today’s announcement reinforces our collective commitment – across Government, Defence and industry – to establish an enduring, local guided weapons capability. Raytheon Australia aims to contribute to this national security endeavour through our access to intellectual property and manufacturing know-how that will provide the foundation for this enterprise, while also growing a niche, local workforce – creating thousands of high-tech Australian jobs over the coming decade. Our parent company is the largest manufacturer of guided weapons in the world and it is our intention to bring that unique capability to Australia. This is a great day – propelling our national security on a global scale and enabling Australia to build greater industrial self-reliance and resilience.”

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive, Warren McDonald AO, CSC, welcomed the announcement as a watershed for Australia’s self-reliance and resilience, accelerating the establishment of a highly-skilled workforce while helping to secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities. “Lockheed Martin Australia is proud to have been selected with Raytheon Australia as the Strategic Industry Partners that will work with other industry enterprise participants to realise the Australian Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise,” he said. “This is a strategically important and vital national undertaking, and we will respond to the Australian Government’s expectations by growing a skilled local workforce and working with Australian small and medium enterprises to build resiliency in supply chains. We look forward to working with Raytheon Australia and partnering with the Australian Defence Force and defence industry to fulfil the sovereign defence capabilities that Australia needs to maintain a decisive advantage across all domains.”

Lockheed Martin Australia Business Development Senior Manager Missiles and Fire Control, James Heading, reaffirmed Lockheed Martin’s commitment to invest in designing, building and sustaining a world-class sovereign weapons capability for Australia. “Together with our industry partners we are identifying Australian supply chain opportunities that further strengthen Australia’s sovereign defence industrial base,” he said. “This decision will support advanced manufacturing, engineering and technology jobs and will provide significant opportunities for Australian small and medium enterprises. These programs will also provide opportunities for Australian innovation and technology contributions to future upgrades in areas such as sensors, warheads and extended missile ranges.”

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