Lockheed’s first Australian missiles to be assembled in 2024 – report


The first Australian produced Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles – well known for their use by Ukraine – will be produced at a facility in western Sydney by the end of 2024, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The article, which details US efforts to boost missile manufacturing by its allies, said that Lockheed Martin, which makes GMLRS at a single factory in Camden, Ark., planned to hire six Australian engineers and embed them in the US to learn about the manufacturing process.

It will then ship semi-assembled parts of the missiles from the U.S. to Lockheed Martin Australia, where they will undergo final assembly at a new production line in Building 215 of an Australian Army facility at Orchard Hills in western Sydney.

The WSJ said: “The first batch of about a dozen Australian-assembled GMLRS will be test-fired by the end of next year, Australian officials said.

“By the end of the decade, Australia aims to make thousands of missiles annually, expanding beyond Building 215.”

In January a $37.4 million contract was signed between Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia, paving the way for domestic manufacture of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) missiles from 2025.

Having a second source of supply for the missiles is a key aim of the US and Australia for missiles as well as other munitions – single sources are vulnerable to sabotage or attack.

The contract is part of $4.1 billion over the forward estimates allocated in the last Budget for the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise.

The rockets will initially be assembled from semi-assembled parts until local supply chains mature to supply available inpouts such as rocket motors, warheads, propellants and explosives, with ultimate production potentially in larger numbers that have been alluded to.

The WAS said: “We don’t need to be making 300 GMLRS a year, we need to make 3,000 GMLRS a year,” Air Marshal Leon Phillips, an engineer and three-star Australian air-force officer tasked with overseeing the country’s missile-manufacturing efforts, said at his office in Australia’s defense headquarters in Canberra, the capital.”

The GLMRS missiles are fired from High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS, pictured) trucks, also produced by Lockheed Martin.

Further reading:
Defence, Lockheed sign $37.4 million contract ahead of GMLRS missile manufacturing next year

Picture: HIMARS launcher (credit Lockheed)

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