Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) has teamed with New South Wales-based metal fabrication specialists Varley Group (Varley) and two other regionally-based industry partners to develop new deployable cabins packed with home-grown and developed advanced technologies to give the Australian Defence Force (ADF) a capability edge.
Based on the design of the classified transportable facilities developed to support the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35 fleet, LMA and Varley have partnered again to deliver new Tactical Air Defence Radar Systems (TADRS 2.0) portable processing cabins and a Next Generation Deployable Facility (NGDF) portable cabin concept demonstrator. Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive Joe North said the industry base emerging around deployable cabins represented the very best of Australian industry ingenuity and collaboration. “The deployable cabins we are producing with Varley Group and our other Australian industry partners are the result of work by hi-tech skilled Australians and represent a world-class capability,” he said. “As part of LMA’s commitment to continuously grow more high-skill jobs in Australia we are exploring opportunities to further develop and export this capability.”
The NGDF cabin fabrication was led by Varley Group, while the technology fit-out was performed by LMA staff in Adelaide and in Newcastle supported by R&R Murphy and local firm ISG Sheetmetal and Laser.
Speaking at the unveiling of the NGDF concept demonstrator at the Hunter Defence Conference 2021, Lockheed Martin Australia Rotary Mission Systems Business Development Director Neale Prescott explained the NGDF showcased a sample of capabilities developed by several Australian small-medium enterprises integrated into a sovereign open systems architecture. “The NGDF has been designed to demonstrate new technology and innovation from Australian industry and academia, exploiting the flexibility and power of contemporary software tools and techniques in a deployable, secure form factor that provides a tangible example of LMA’s commitment to advancing Australian sovereign defence capability,” he said. “Akin to a smartphone with any imaginable combination of applications, the NGDF’s open architecture allows for rapid capability insertion and experimentation with innovative Australian technologies and capabilities that will be utilised alongside the ADF and Coalition partners during major exercises such as Talisman Sabre 21 in July 2021.”
Meanwhile, Varley have also completed fabrication for the first of four new TADRS 2.0 portable processing cabins, with fit out now underway before delivery to the ADF in September. TADRS 2.0 represents a complete reconfiguration of the legacy TADRS system supported by LMA since 2006. With its mass reduced by some 50% to enhance agility and mobility, TADRS 2.0 has been purposefully evolved to produce a modular surveillance radar and communications platform capable of rapid deployment and extraction by the ADF in support of the Royal Australian Air Force 41 Wing’s surveillance, airspace control and combat air support operations. “The newly developed TADRS 2.0 processing cabin is a result of a long-standing partnership between LMA and Varley established through the 15 years of sustainment support provided by LMA to the ADF on the TADRS,” said Prescott. “LMA and its partnership with the ADF have transitioned of the original Lockheed Martin (US) prime contract to a complete sovereign capability, providing all engineering and logistics support services required by 41 Wing to maintain its operation commitments.”