Under a memorandum of understanding (MOU), students at a Victorian university will gain access to world-leading equipment and experience in defence manufacturing if BAE Systems secures the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract.
As part of its BAE's bid for the $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project, students from the University of Melbourne would have the opportunity to do graduate placements, internships, and research and development (R&D) activities with the defence prime at its proposed state-of-the-art manufacturing and innovation centre at Fishermans Bend.
As part of the MOU, students at the University of Melbourne would gain access to equipment, data and testing facilities at the BAE Systems Fishermans Bend facility and leverage BAE System’s global activities, networks and early careers programs. Late last year, the University of Melbourne announced it will establish a new engineering faculty in the technology hub at Fishermans Bend.
BAE Systems is up against Rheinmetall, which has chosen Queensland as it's build site, to deliver 225 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) under the project. BAE Systems has offered the AMV-35 while Rheinmetall has put forward the Boxer CRV.
Gabby Costigan, CEO of BAE Systems Australia, said its bid for the project will benefit Australia's workforce and its students in building STEM and advanced technology skills.
"This presents a unique opportunity for our two organisations to build on existing relationships to collaborate and build the skills for Australia’s future workforce. We are already working with the University of Melbourne on hypersonics, autonomy guidance and control capabilities and recently jointly bid into the Trusted Autonomy CRC," Costigan said.
"BAE Systems provides some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions, and by partnering with universities we will enable students to leverage our world-class expertise and build the skilled workforce for the future. We hope that many Australian students will also benefit from this."
University of Melbourne vice chancellor Glyn Davis added that the agreement will boost the state's role in R&D and collaboration with defence industry.
"This announcement makes the new campus at Fishermans Bend an even more attractive proposition for students. It will be a unique and world-leading opportunity," Davis said.
"This agreement builds on the University of Melbourne and BAE Systems’ current relationships with academia and industry both in Australia and around the world, and provides a solid platform for future research and collaboration."
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The announcement of the MOU comes just days after the Victorian Labor government launched a renewed campaign to win the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract.
The new campaign, which includes billboards throughout Canberra, aims to promote the strengths of Victoria’s defence industry and record in manufacturing military vehicles as the federal government readies to make a decision on LAND 400 Phase 2.
The campaign features local workers from AME Systems and Marand, who are part of BAE Systems’ supply chain, along with other Victorian defence companies from across the state, including MOOG Australia, Motec, RUAG Australia, DVR Engineering, Parker Hannifin and APV.
Victoria’s defence sector is worth $8 billion to the local economy every year, and is made up of about 20,000 workers and more than 400 businesses.
If BAE Systems is awarded the LAND 400 contract, the government has estimated it would add close to $1 billion to Victoria’s economy and create up to 2,000 manufacturing and supply chain jobs.