Global defence prime Lockheed Martin has celebrated its expanding Australian presence with its Science, Technology, Engineering Leadership, Research Laboratory (STELaRLab) reaching final operational capability (FOC).
The STELaRLab in Melbourne hosted a media briefing with Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne in attendance, and esteemed representatives joined via digital link up from across the globe including chairman, president and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson, RAAF Air Vice Marshal Alan Clements and ambassador to the US Joe Hockey.
The R&D centre was announced just over a year ago and has already achieved FOC and doubled expectations of staff build up, with a potential of 12 to 14 staff expected to be at STELaRLab by the end of this year.
STELaRLab is the first of its kind outside of the US and acts as the company's national research and development operations centre in Australia.
The R&D centre is specialising in next-generation C4ISR information systems, space situational awareness, UAV technologies and VR technologies.
Minister Pyne celebrated the company's commitment to Australian innovation and development of defence capabilities at the event.
"Lockheed Martin selected Australia because of our significant capabilities in research and development," Minister Pyne said.
"Choosing a Defence scientist to head the STELaRLab is also a credit to Australia’s international scientific leadership. The fact that Lockheed Martin chose one of our Defence scientists from DST Group, Dr Tony Lindsay, to head the STELaRLab is a credit to Australia’s international scientific leadership.
"Defence has a long-standing relationship with Lockheed Martin and, in that time, the company has demonstrated a high level of commitment to work with Defence on building new capability.
"STELaRLab has been exploring autonomy, robotics, and command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and is also partnering with universities to support PhD projects under the Australian Post Graduate award program."
Minister Pyne said the STELaRLab is a valued addition to Australia’s R&D capability and Defence welcomes opportunities for joint research with the laboratory.
"I wish the laboratory success in its research endeavours for Defence and look forward to its future contributions to the Defence Innovation System," he said.
The Defence Innovation System consists of the Defence Innovation Hub and the Next Generation Technologies Fund as the two core initiatives outlined in the government’s Defence Industry Policy Statement.