Lockheed and Thales muscle in on Australian missile manufacturing opportunity

Two of the world’s largest defence contractors, Lockheed Martin and Thales, have joined forces to compete for the opportunity of building an Australian missile manufacturing facility for the federal government.

Defence recently began a smart procurement process to select the group that will develop an Australian Guided Weapons Enterprise under a $1 billion federal government initiative.

Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) and Thales Australia have finalised a teaming agreement that will cooperate in the design, development and production of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL) variant (pictured), with a specific focus on booster and rocket motor technologies.

CEO of LMA Joe North said: “This is a step change for future weapons manufacture in Australia.

“Through technology transfer and innovation we see the opportunity to drive the creation of a skilled local workforce, build resiliency in supply chains and help secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities for now and into the future.

“The opportunity to work with the team at Thales Australia, the largest manufacturer of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a successful track record of delivering ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services, has the makings of a great partnership for the future.”

The two companies are already deeply involved in Australian defence industry – LMA supplying aircraft such as the F-35 fighter and C-130J Hercules and Thales housing its global armoured vehicle business in Australia where it manufactures Bushmaster and Hawkei vehicles.

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said: “High performance propellants and explosives for warheads, solid fuel rocket motor manufacturing and associated R&D and support services delivered by Thales Australia are essential to achieve sovereign guided weapons capability.

“..Thales currently employs over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces.

“And we work with over 500 Australian small and medium enterprises and a large range of weapons systems Primes to ensure the ADF receives the locally manufactured munitions they need.”

Picture: A Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL)

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