The defence primes have formed a partnership aimed at advancing the development of locally-manufactured long-range, anti-ship missile technology.
Lockheed Martin Australia and Thales Australia have finalised a teaming agreement to facilitate co-operation in the design, development and production of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL) variant.
The agreement, which will specifically focus on booster and rocket motor technologies, is expected to bolster Australia’s national guided weapons enterprise, supporting the Commonwealth government’s objective of expanding the sovereign defence industrial and manufacturing capability.
“This is a step change for future weapons manufacture in Australia – through technology transfer and innovation we see the opportunity to drive the creation of a skilled local workforce, build resiliency in supply chains and help secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities for now and into the future,” said Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Joe North.
“We are delighted to be teaming with Thales Australia and our agreement acknowledges the confidence we have in Thales Australia and its’ strong safety culture in the delivery of weapons capabilities.
“Lockheed Martin has a proud history of successfully developing and delivering world class capabilities to our customers.”
North added: “The opportunity to work with the team at Thales Australia, the largest manufacturer of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a successful track record of delivering ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services has the makings of a great partnership for the future.”
Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales Australia, said the deal is further evidence of Thales’ commitment to supporting sovereign industrial capability.
“High performance propellants and explosives for warheads, solid fuel rocket motor manufacturing and associated R&D and support services delivered by Thales Australia are essential to achieve sovereign guided weapons capability and we are looking forward to working with Lockheed Martin in support of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) objectives,” he said.
“Thales currently employs over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces. And we work with over 500 Australian small and medium enterprises and a large range of weapons systems Primes to ensure the ADF receives the locally manufactured munitions they need.
“Through the signing of this agreement with Lockheed Martin, we look forward to expanding our existing booster and rocket motor production lines to design, develop and manufacture LRASM SL.”