Australian company Varley and global defence company Rafael have agreed on a joint venture called Varley Rafael Australia (VRA).
In a statement, Varley Rafael Australia said the companies are committed to producing a range of Rafael systems in Australia and will build sovereign capability, drive innovation and jobs, and create export opportunities. The joint venture will create around 70 new jobs as Rafael transfers their expertise to Australia.
“This partnership between one of Australia’s best defence companies and a global success story like Rafael is another success story for Australian industry,” said Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne.
“This will bring IP, know-how and advanced manufacturing techniques to Australia to produce capability for use by the ADF with the potential for export to our friends and allies."
The news comes as Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Marise Payne confirmed that the Rafael Spike LR2 missile will be the anti-tank guided missile on the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles.
Spike’s selection was initially confirmed only in matter-of-fact remarks by Major General David Coglan, Head of Land Systems Division in Defence’s Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG), at Senate Estimates on 30 May.
The Spike confirmation puts Rafael in a strong position to also supply anti-tank guided missile systems for the up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles to be acquired under Land 400 Phase 3, for which a tender is due later this year.
Varley Rafael Australia has committed to building the Spike LR2 in Australia. The Spike was selected after an independent comparative evaluation of potential missile options for the vehicle was conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group.
“The Spike missile is the best anti-tank guided missile for the Boxer,” Minister Payne said. “It will give the Boxer the range and lethality it needs to fight and win the land battle."
Rafael is one of Israel’s largest defence companies, with a global footprint and around 7,500 employees in Israel. Varley is one of Australia’s oldest manufacturing and engineering companies, with a history of contracts with the ADF.
“The venture follows my visit to Israel in July this year where I discussed this important partnership with Rafael’s leadership and participated in the inaugural Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group,” Minister Pyne added.
The Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group was established to strengthen ties between Australia and Israel, explore defence industry and innovation opportunities, identify export opportunities, and support industries to cooperate in the development of technologies for shared capability challenges.