Minister Reynolds said the Australian government was committed to providing the Australian Defence Force with the best capability to defend Australia’s national interests.
"This capability will contribute to the protection of our service men and women from modern airborne threats and be based on the proven Raytheon/Kongsberg National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), which is used by numerous countries, including the United States," Minister Reynolds explained.
The NASAMS acquisition brings transformational change to the Army’s existing force protection capability, including a progression from man-portable GBAD capability to a fully networked and distributed system, these advancements allow the Army to counter complex air threats beyond visual range and significantly increases protection coverage for Australian soldiers.
"Raytheon Australia will act as the prime systems integrator for the new air defence capability, which combines world-leading Australian radar technology with a highly effective air defence system," Minister Reynolds said.
Advanced radars designed and manufactured by Canberra-based company CEA Technologies will be integrated with Australian designed and built vehicles.
Minister Price said the signing of this contract marked an important milestone for the project.
"I’m delighted that Australia’s most innovative technologies will be used as an integral part of one of the world’s best short range ground based air defence systems under LAND 19 Phase 7B. Australian industry will continue to play a vital role in the $1.5 billion acquisition, which will replace the Army’s existing RBS-70 system," she said.
NASAMS is a short to medium range air defence system owned by nine countries and has been integrated into the US National Capital Region’s air defence system since 2005. In addition to the US, Norway, Finland, Spain, the Netherlands, Oman, Lithuania, Indonesia and one undisclosed country have chosen to depend on NASAMS for homeland defence and the defence of critical assets.
Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said, "We finessed an already good system to make it arguably the world’s best NASAMS capability tailored to meet Army’s unique requirements.
"A well-structured risk mitigation activity, significant Australian industry engagement, and a measured level of company investment, have allowed us to – collaboratively – reduce integration risk and develop a program that will not only deliver world-class capability but will establish enduring sovereign capabilities though a comprehensive Australian Industry Capability plan."
Raytheon Australia’s newly-established Centre for Joint Integration in Adelaide will be used for the design, manufacture and assembly of some key elements of the NASAMS system, contributing to the creation of at least 100 Australian jobs across the life of the capability.
"In the CAVE that we used to great effect in virtual prototyping; in the Warfighter Integration Support Lab here in Canberra that incorporates many of the systems we will use in LAND 19 and quite a number of those the LAND 19 system will interface with; and in our Centre for Joint Integration in Adelaide that will support not only the production of the system but also enduring through-life support," Mr Ward said.