• Lockheed Martin AIR6500 capture team pictured together within the Endeavour Centre, Lockheed Martin Australia House, Canberra
    Lockheed Martin AIR6500 capture team pictured together within the Endeavour Centre, Lockheed Martin Australia House, Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia this morning announced the creation of a secure National Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) Ecosystem in Australia, investing $74 million in the facility.

The company says this proposal was made in parallel with its bid for Defence’s $2.7 billion Joint Air Battle Management System to be delivered under Air 6500, but is not dependant on it being successful.

Lockheed Martin Australia and Northrop Grumman Australia have been downselected for a role as the Commonwealth’s strategic partner for Air 6500 and both companies have confirmed that they have now submitted their bids.

“This is not a Lockheed Martin facility, it will be a Commonwealth facility,” Steve Froelich, Vice President of Rotary and Mission Systems operations for Australia and New Zealand and Program Executive for AIR6500 explained. “Should we be the downselected partner we would gladly help them out on this journey, but that is also not a condition of this investment. It’s still worth the investment, because Australia is a very important customer for Lockheed Martin.”

The model will include a central ‘node’ where Australian companies can come to carry out research and development of technologies for future IAMD capabilities and is expected to become self-sustaining over time.

“It will be a reinforcing ecosystem that allows for the combination of technology, people and infrastructure – including a ‘hub and spoke’ output to remote sites, and of course we will work with the Commonwealth on what those would be,” Froelich said.

“We want a place where you have software systems evident and available that have ‘plug ins’ with modern technology that allows for software development and to staff it with experts that can help.”

Froelich also said that part of the $74 million investment will be seed money to kick start research and development activities to ensure the capability can be grown and begin to develop industry.

Kendell Kuczma, Lockheed Martin’s International Business Development Director of Rotary and Missions Systems (RMS) for Australia and New Zealand, added that the investment was part of Lockheed Martin Australia’s AIC commitment for Air 6500, but the facility will be run by the Commonwealth.

It’s an investment in Australia’s sovereign self-reliance and it puts the connectivity infrastructure in place for everyone to contribute to the program for next-generation IAMD technology for the next 50 years,” she said.

While the location of the facility’s main node will be a Commonwealth decision, ADM understands Lockheed Martin has identified Williamtown as the most suitable site.

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