At the opening of Leonardo's SEA 1442 Shore Integration & Test Facility in Melbourne, executive chairman of Leonardo Australia Michael Lenton said Australia is on track to be one of the biggest markets for the company.
"In the next few weeks we'll have some very important meetings with CASG ... to show that we are serious about building up our capability here in Australia and that the rest of Leonardo is behind what we're doing," said Lenton.
"It has gone as far as for Leonardo to announce that Australia will be the fifth domestic market for Leonardo, after Italy, the UK, the US and Poland where they have thousands and thousands of people, we're the second largest defence supplier in the UK, we are tier 3 supplier into the US, directly behind Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, and also in Poland we have 4,000 people working for us.
"So that kind of strategic vision to be expressed and for us to be in this position to actually be those that will move this strategy forward I think is a really exciting moment for us."
The new facility was opened by Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, who said more capabilities like the facility will enhance Australia's chances of attracting more overseas investment.
"It's great to be here to open your shore testing and evaluation facility, it gives us more capability and, being the Defence Industry Minister for that last 15 or 16 months, it's all about capability," the minister said.
"We will be able to attract overseas companies like Leonardo and others if we have the capability here to produce the best that the world requires in terms of product and services for defence industry."
Selex ES, a Leonardo company, was awarded a $188 million contract by the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation in 2013 to provide and support modernised communications systems for the Royal Australian Navy’s eight Anzac Class frigates as part of the SEA 1442 Phase 4 program.
Under the contract, Leonardo and a range of Australian and international companies will provide an integrated suite of state-of-the-art communications capabilities for the Anzac Class frigates. The solution involves enhanced external RF communications and internal tactical communications equipment, the provision of a high-data-rate line-of-sight bearer capacity and the introduction of a modern communications management system.