26 October 2022

Lockheed Martin to expand Australian footprint

| Andrew McLaughlin
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AIR 6500 will connect all platforms and sensors across all war-fighting domains into a single interface. Photo: Lockheed Martin Australia.

Defence giant Lockheed Martin Australia has announced it intends to build a new $74 million facility near Newcastle as part of its Project AIR 6500 Joint Air Battle Management System (JABMS) proposal to the Commonwealth.

Shortlisted in 2020 along with Northrop Grumman Australia to be the Commonwealth’s partner in developing a JABMS that will tie together all of the Australian Defence Force’s radars, command and control systems, and air defence systems, Lockheed Martin Australia says the new facility will establish a National Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) ”ecosystem” at RAAF Williamtown. The company says the proposed centre demonstrated its “responsibility to uplift industry and help build the workforce of the future”.

Apart from developing Australia’s IAMD network, the facility will enable the company’s aims to position Australian industry to have a greater role in the company’s global IAMD programs by bringing ADF operators, defence scientists, industry and academia together to collaborate, develop, build and sustain these capabilities.

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In a 17 October statement, the company’s chief executive, Australia and New Zealand, Warren McDonald, said: “In today’s strategic environment, IAMD is a critical capability, and Australian industry is well placed to be on the leading edge of global innovation and development.

“IAMD is a mission that spans all services and requires a high degree of integration to be effective. It is bigger than any one project, and the ecosystem is a mechanism that will provide the enduring aspect of Australian Industry Capability (AIC) that is so often elusive.”

The IAMD announcement came just four days after Lockheed Martin Australia opened a new office in Adelaide that will house 90 staff, including engineers, scientists, commercial, legal, administration and operational employees to add to the more than 500 staff it already has in South Australia.

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The Adelaide office will include an offshoot of the company’s successful STELaRLab, a multi-disciplinary research, integration and engineering facility that was established in Melbourne in 2016. The new office is designed to conduct research into artificial intelligence, autonomy, hypersonics, image and signal processing, tracking and sensor fusion, operations analysis, and complex optimisation.

The new research lab and integration centre add to Lockheed Martin Australia’s successful Endeavour Centre in Canberra. Opened in 2018, the Endeavour Centre is a secure demonstration space where capabilities can be shown and concepts explored and tested with customers, academia and industry partners at a classified level.

Lockheed Martin Australia currently employs more than 1200 staff Australia-wide.

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