The Pentagon’s former chief of weapons acquisition says an Australian guided missile production facility is vital to shore up future allied stockpiles and supply chains. Ellen Lord, who oversaw more than US$400 billion in weapons procurement for the US Department of Defense during the Trump Administration, says the war in Ukraine has depleted America’s weapons stocks by 20 percent in some areas. She says the Australian government’s A$1 billion investment to accelerate a sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise is timely – and vital – for Australia’s national security, that of its allies and global supply chain surety.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated that simple shoulder-fired missiles such as the surface-to-air Stinger and anti-tank Javelin are effective in stopping the advance of superior armoured forces. But reports indicate that Ukrainian troops are consuming guided munitions faster than western allies can supply them.

“The conflict in Ukraine has really been a wake-up call,” Lord, a strategic advisor to the Australian Missile Corporation and NIOA, told a business forum in Brisbane. “The US has provided the Ukraine with quite a few (weapons) systems. We were not as full in our inventories as some would have liked in terms of guided weapons before this. Now there is a perception ‘how do we build those inventories back up?’ There is not the capacity to do that quickly, so we have to look elsewhere.”

Lord pointed to the recently inked trilateral AUKUS security pact between Australia, the US and UK along with America’s NTIB (National Technology Industrial Base) agreement as the policy framework to accelerate competitive military advantage. “It’s logical to look back to Australia especially given the top cover of AUKUS. The greatest tool of diplomacy we have in the US is technology and acquisition, so we are looking to our closest allies,” she said.

The Australian government recently appointed America’s biggest missile manufacturers – Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – to establish a domestic guided weapons industrial base, supported by local partners including the Australian Missile Corporation, Aurecon and Sovereign Missile Alliance.

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  1. Given that our Navy is very limited and is perhaps our weakest military force (and not improving) we should have bristling missile batteries on and off our shores….especially some very long range missile, remember the Solomon’s future Chinese base.

    • Yes, I agree. The Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM) on order comes in a truck launched version that has been sold to Poland and I hope that’s an option that the DoD is considering.

  2. Australia needs to design and build its own missiles and launch systems for a 2000-3000km missile to hit ships or land targets within range. There are a number of nations in Asia with the capacity to launch missiles that have the range to hit Australia, including North Korea.
    Our stokes of munitions and equipment is absurdly low. For the continent we must defend our Army is minuscule, our Air Force has to few planes and no interceptors, while the country has no domestic capacity to design and manufacture a fast, cheap interceptor aircraft. Our Navy needs 15 to 20 multi purpose corvettes for local defence and convoy duties in time of conflict while major surface combatants are off supporting Allies or on combat missions against enemy shipping.
    This war in Ukraine has shown that when a major war is fought you lose equipment and need fast replacements, you need munitions for all platforms and an ability to locally produce all munitions needed in a number of locations at least one being top secret to avoid enemy targeting.
    Old weapons systems should be fully refurbished and stored as reserve equipment for war stock.
    Many lessons Australia can learn from this horrific Russian invasion. One important one is we are an Island and would find it much more difficult to get the support and aid Ukraine is getting through its land borders.


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