Global defence giant BAE Systems has affirmed its LAND 400 proposition, unveiling today the state where it will base its operations.
BAE Systems Australia has announced plans to combine its Victorian maritime, aerospace and land businesses into a single defence hub at Fishermans Bend, which would become the biggest of its type in Australia and would be the site of manufacturing for the Army's Armed Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles.
BAE is projecting up to 1,000 engineers and highly skilled technicians will be needed to design, develop, deliver and maintain new defence platforms and systems for the Australian Defence Force and more than 200 people will be employed for the build phase of the LAND 400 program, for which it has offered the AMV35.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Glynn Phillips said the new hub will play a key role in developing Australia's sovereign defence capabilities.
"The creation of this new defence hub will provide sustainable, long-term, highly skilled work for Australians and further develop and grow the nation’s sovereign industry capability," said Phillips.
"I am delighted that we can be part of Victoria’s ambition to develop a defence industry that is globally focused, supporting the transition to a stronger and more diversified economy that will benefit all Australians."
A simulation and training and a test facility will be established as part of its LAND 400 advanced manufacturing centre and, once in service, the centre will be used to upgrade and maintain the LAND 400 vehicles over their 30-plus-year service life.
The defence hub will be a centralised point of collaboration with the Commonwealth for land programs and possible future export customers. BAE Systems is the original equipment manufacturer of M88 (Hercules recovery vehicle), M777 (155mm, 39mm towed gun) and M113 (armoured personnel carriers).
The hub will also include a globally competitive aerospace business that develops leading edge autonomous systems, electronic warfare, hypersonics and weapons technology including the nation’s most defence successful defence export, Nulka, a decoy that lures enemy missiles away from ships. Nulka has provided Australia with more than $1 billion in exports during production.
BAE Systems Australia operates Australia’s largest naval sustainment business maintaining and upgrading Royal Australian Navy ships and much of this work will now be conducted at Fishermans Bend. More than 200 engineers and specialist employees will be based at the new site supporting RAN ships across Australia. BAE says the centre of excellence for maritime engineering capability will support Australia’s national shipbuilding strategy, including the design, build and sustainment of Australia’s Future Frigates, for which its parent company BAE Systems (UK) is tendering.
BAE Systems Australia is up against Rheinmetall Defence Australia for the multibillion-dollar LAND 400 contract.
Rheinmetall recently unveiled its plans to establish its Australia and New Zealand headquarters and a manufacturing and vehicle maintenance facility in South-East Queensland if it wins the contract to supply Australia's new armoured vehicles.