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Lockheed Martin Australia appoints GWEO lead

Ken Kota

The prime contractor has tapped one of its global VPs to spearhead its work to deliver a sovereign guided weapons capability to the Australian Defence Force.  

The prime contractor has tapped one of its global VPs to spearhead its work to deliver a sovereign guided weapons capability to the Australian Defence Force.  

Ken Kota has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Australian defence strategic capabilities office, tasked with overseeing the company’s contribution to the Commonwealth government’s $1 billion Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise. 

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Reporting to Lockheed Martin executive vice president Scott Greene, Kota who first joined Lockheed Martin in April 2019 as vice president, strategy and business development  is expected to leverage Lockheed Martin’s experience in missile design and manufacture to accelerate the development of advanced guided weapon manufacturing capabilities in Australia. 

This includes facilitating access to existing technologies and systems employed by Lockheed Martin’s advanced weapons factories.

“Lockheed Martin understands the strategic importance of Australia’s GWEO Enterprise and is committed to putting the best people in front of this national endeavour. Ken brings significant experience in missile defence and strike weapons to the team,” Warren McDonald, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, said.

“Under his guidance, and with ready access to US capabilities and experience, Lockheed Martin Australia will help build the in-country knowledge and engineering expertise required to deliver GWEO.”

Kota welcomed the opportunity to help realise the GWEO Enterprise’s ambitions.  

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“As one of the largest manufacturers of guided weapons in the world, Lockheed Martin has a long, proud history designing, developing and manufacturing precision engagement aerospace and defence systems,” he said. 

“We are looking forward to working hand in glove with the Australian Defence Force and local small to medium enterprises to transfer this knowledge and capability. 

“In the short term, we will accelerate Australia’s ability to maintain and manufacture sovereign guided weapons. And in the long term, we will support a durable and resilient supply chain that secures Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.”

In April, the Commonwealth government appointed Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia as strategic partners for the GWEO Enterprise. 

The global prime contractors will be supported by a number of Australia-based industry co-operatives, including the Sovereign Missile Alliance (SMA) – a joint venture between Nova Systems and Electro Optic Systems (EOS) – and the Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) – a group led by Queensland-based munitions company NIOA.

Raytheon Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia will be responsible for addressing gaps outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update by working with local SMEs to create opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

The enterprise ecosystem is expected to support Defence’s inventory of guided weapons and explosive ordnance, while also including:

  • manufacturing;
  • R&D;
  • education and training;
  • test and evaluation;
  • maintenance and repair;
  • storage and distribution; and
  • disposal.

[Related: Former Pentagon official touts key role for Australia’s GWEO]

Lockheed Martin Australia appoints GWEO lead
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