EOS(Updates with comments from Northrop Grumman)

The Australian government on Thursday (5 August) announced that it has selected Lockheed Martin Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia to continue to the final stage of the competitive evaluation process for the Australian Defence Force’s new Joint Air Battle Management System.

Peter Dutton, Australia’s defence minister. (PHOTO: David Foote)

Minister for Defence Peter Dutton commended the commitment of both Defence and Australian industry in working together to increase the protection of Australian deployed forces. “The Morrison Government’s $2.7 billion investment in a sovereign Joint Air Battle Management System will deliver a critical capability to defend against increasingly advanced air and missile threats,” Dutton said. “Through the competitive evaluation process, Australian industry has demonstrated its versatility and adaptability to provide innovative proposals in the challenging field of Integrated Air and Missile Defence. The Joint Air Battle Management System will connect our ships, aircraft and other capabilities together in a way that multiplies their defensive power.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated the successful participants on their well-considered and highly competitive responses. “Defence found the down-selected companies demonstrated the best understanding of its capability requirements, as well as a strong commitment to developing Australian industry capability,” Price said. “I look forward to seeing the advanced technical solutions and prototypes that will be developed as these companies refine their final offering for the Joint Air Battle Management System.”

The competitive evaluation process will select an Australian company to lead the delivery of the Joint Air Battle Management System and provide the core architecture of Defence’s future Integrated Air and Missile Defence capability. Boeing Defence Australia and Raytheon Australia also participated in the first stage of the competitive evaluation process, and will continue to be involved in developing the Joint Air Battle Management System and supporting the Integrated Air and Missile Defence Program. The successful strategic partner for the Joint Air Battle Management System is expected to be announced in late 2023.

Joe North
Joe North, CEO Lockheed Martin Australia.

Joe North, chief executive Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand said, “Today’s announcement marks the next step in AIR6500-1 to work in partnership with the Australian Defence Force and industry partners to support the Royal Australian Air Force’s vision to transform the Air Force into a next-gen-enabled force through delivering a sovereign highly advanced Joint Air Battle Management System to protect Australia’s security. Since 2016, we have been highly committed to supporting the AIR6500-1 project. Our Lockheed Martin Australia AIR6500-1 team has steadily grown over this time to over 80 Australians in Adelaide, Canberra and Williamtown. Critical to that effort has been our focus on proactively engaging and establishing important partnerships with Australian industry to identify and invest in ‘best of breed’ local capabilities to deliver a truly sovereign capability solution for Australia,” said North.

Lockheed Martin Australia will continue partnering with industry, academia and government to develop, integrate, build, and sustain future technologies that can be integrated into an open architecture framework to support AIR6500-1. This approach will ensure innovative small to medium Australian high-tech businesses remain at the core of shaping Australia’s future defence capabilities. “We look forward to collaborating with Australian industry and the Royal Australian Air Force to progress the AIR6500-1 solution as part of the CEPS2. We would like to congratulate Northrop Grumman for also being down selected for the CEPS2,” said North.

“Northrop Grumman’s unmatched expertise in developing complex, multi-domain, multi-mission weapons systems will help meet Australia’s sovereign Integrated Air and Missile Defence needs both today and into the future,” said Christine Zeitz, general manager, Northrop Grumman Asia Pacific. “Working with 12 leading Australian SMEs, like Nova Systems Australia, AOS Group and Daronmont Technologies as some of our capability partners, we will employ a highly collaborative ‘JABMS Enterprise’ approach, bringing together the best capabilities developed by Australia’s Defence industry.”

Northrop Grumman Australia’s proposed solution for the AIR6500 Phase 1 project offers an enduring and innovative Australian sovereign capability for the delivery, sustainment and ongoing evolution of the nation’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) capability. This solution will contribute towards the delivery of a fifth-generation JABMS capability for the defence of Australia to help protect the ADF and allied forces from a diverse range of air and missile threats in a rapidly changing operational environment.

“Our US team, in partnership with our Australian colleagues, looks forward to providing our advanced architecture that has been deployed successfully across a number of joint all domain command and control programs, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System (IBCS),” said Christine Harbison, vice president and general manager, combat systems and mission readiness, Northrop Grumman. “Our approach provides significant opportunities for enduring and innovative Australian industry participation in the ongoing design, development, integration, delivery and sustainment of the JABMS capability.”


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