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A generational step forward for defence capability in Australia

The historic arrival of Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft at the end of 2018 heralds the beginning of a new era for the Australian Defence Force as it transitions towards the fifth-generation era.

The historic arrival of Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft at the end of 2018 heralds the beginning of a new era for the Australian Defence Force as it transitions towards the fifth-generation era.

At the end of 2018, Lockheed Martin witnessed with great pride the arrival of the first two F-35A aircraft in Australia, which will be permanently based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown. This historic occasion was the beginning of a new era for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The F-35A heralds the 5th Generation technology era and the first of this impressive capability is now rolling into Australia.


The F-35A is transformative and much more than just a fighter aircraft. It delivers enhanced combat power by exploiting fused situational awareness to empower our Defence force. The ‘combat edge’ of these capabilities flows to other air, surface and ground-based platforms and informs faster decision making at longer ranges and extends military warfighting options far beyond anything previously imagined or achievable.

The F-35A changes the nature of warfare. It unlocks the capability to conduct integrated operations across all domains. However, this is just one part of a bigger picture.

The RAAF is creating an integrated system of advanced capabilities and not simply purchasing individual platforms.


They are evolving from current state to an integrated and interoperable 5th Generation fighting force. This means adopting new concepts for operations, changed training, tactics and procedures, and using new ways of thinking about air warfare, with consequent impacts on the ADF and how Australia’s participation in future coalitions.

Under the banner of AIR 6500, the RAAF is designing a future that is networked, secure and interoperable. And it is on this path, that Lockheed Martin Australia stands ready to assist.

Our plan is to deliver a comprehensive Joint Battle Management System (JBMS) for Australia’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) based on our understanding of the ADF’s need to harness the F-35A’s 5th Generation capabilities. Our expertise as the 5th Generation design pioneer is enhanced by our extensive involvement in IAMD systems in the United States.

At Lockheed Martin Australia, we have the proven experience in design and integration of complex system-of-systems to deliver advanced capabilities while managing risk. By adopting ‘best of breed’ technology, incremental capability enhancements, Open Mission Systems, and our proven Rapid Capability Insertion model we offer the unique expertise needed for this complex program.

At Lockheed Martin Australia, we look to be the partner of choice with the ADF through making investments in capability development and multi-domain exercises to help shape the future.

We are participating now in multi-domain exercises coordinated which cross traditional domain boundaries. Our Endeavour Centre based in Lockheed Martin Australia’s Headquarters in Canberra, will play host in 2019 to a number of exercises, including Nimble Titan – a global defence campaign of experimentation in integrated air and missile defence

We are investing in 5th Generation technologies, with our dedicated Research and Development laboratory – STELaRLaB. Our researchers at STELaRLab have developed an innovative program called STEWARD (STELaRLab Threat Evaluation and Weapon Assignment Resources and Decisions) to provide future battle managers with a unique algorithm that conducts comprehensive analysis of battlespace threats and provides tasking recommendations.

STEWARD has the potential to play a critical role as the ADF develops a highly networked joint battle management system to provide battle managers with greatened situational awareness and decision-making support.

We seek to be the partner of choice to work closely with the ADF, other primes, Australian industry and academia to build sovereign capability in Australia. By drawing on the best technology available from the US, whilst simultaneously creating a high-tech and enduring Australian workforce through: in-country development; local integration; industry mentoring; and, technology transfer.

With this at front of mind, for Lockheed Martin Australia, a Prime Systems Integrator (PSI)-led team approach represents the most pragmatic solution to achieving the AIR6500 vision and beyond.

Technology and its appreciates are not restricted to the traditional boundaries. With one of the most advanced defence forces in the world, a fully networked, 5th Generation battle management system connects and integrates air, land, sea, space and cyber domains to bring fully integrated defence capability to Australia.

Now that is something to get excited about.

Vince Di Pietro, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand.

A generational step forward for defence capability in Australia
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