Lockheed Martin Australia has confirmed contracts with five Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of the company’s commitment to building long-term sovereign capability in support of the Australian Defence Force’s AIR 6500 program.
As part of this, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), in partnership with innovative Australian SMEs that include Consilium Technology, Consunet, Shoal, Silentium Defence and Ultra, will investigate and develop capabilities that can be integrated into an open architecture framework to support fifth-generation concepts and application development.
A key focus of the SMEs will be to explore technologies ranging from electronic warfare battle management, contested communications, cyber protection, advanced systems engineering and passive sensing.
Steve Froelich, Lockheed Martin Australia AIR 6500 program executive, said, "Over the past four years, the LMA AIR 6500 team has been steadily adding to our sovereign presence and expanding our Australian team. Critical to that effort has been our focus on proactively engaging and establishing partnerships with Australian industry to identify and invest in ‘best of breed’ local capabilities to deliver a truly sovereign capability solution for Australia."
In order to achieve this, LMA has conducted roadshows in every capital city and across large regional centres in Australia, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, most recently held a virtual industry session with New Zealand’s defence industry to investigate partnerships for AIR 6500.
Froelich added, "Today’s announcement demonstrates our steadfast commitment to work with industry, academia and government to create opportunities for technology transfer, grow the top-level skills base and capabilities to add additional high-tech jobs that help build a stronger, more secure Australia."
From these engagements LMA has identified and validated more than 130 Australian SMEs as potential industry partners with technologies that could be incorporated into the AIR 6500 program solution.
Joe North, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, said that there is a vitality and capacity within Australian industry to deliver world-class defence capabilities.
"We are committed to working with like-minded Australian industry partners to elevate the technology base in Australia and to help advance the innovative Australian high technology businesses so they can actively contribute to a major defence program and shape Australia’s future defence capabilities," North said.
Expanding on this, he said, "We have a proven track record of partnering closely with Australian industry as stewards, to develop, integrate, build, supply and maintain future technologies and capabilities within Australia and New Zealand."
LMA actively supports an Australian sovereign defence capability, which sees a highly skilled workforce of over 1,100 across Australia who partner with defence and industry to deliver, integrate and sustain advanced technology solutions. In turn, our programs and projects directly support a further 5,000 Australian jobs in the advanced manufacturing and high technology defence industry sector.
Nick Cooper, chief information officer of Consilium Technology, said the company is delighted to be a partner to LMA to develop an advanced open architecture technology to deliver a world-class solution for Australia’s future joint all domain capability.
"Consilium Technology is excited by this terrific opportunity to contribute to this major defence program that will strengthen Australia’s national security. We are pleased to be collaborating with Lockheed Martin Australia to explore and create advanced technologies that will support our nation’s ability to protect against future threats," Cooper said.
AIR 6500 is a joint ‘system-of-systems’ that will completely revolutionise the way the ADF operates. Connecting disparate ADF systems and platforms across all domains into a cohesive 21st century operational environment. AIR 6500 synchronises air and missile defence operations, improves situational awareness and enhances the speed of decision making.
Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. The company employs more than 1,000 people in Australia working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and civil sectors.