Varley Group and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems hosted the first of several briefings this month to discuss their joint venture and export opportunities to representatives from over 200 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Melbourne and Sydney.
In September last year, Varley announced it would create a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Australia for production and support of Rafael's fifth generation Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missiles. Assessments of facility locations are still underway.
"Rafael’s operations in Australia will now be focused on the joint venture Varley Rafael Australia," Rafael Australia’s general manager Ido Spitzer said at the briefings.
"We will establish new headquarters along with engineering development and production integration facilities to support current and future Rafael systems."
The supplier briefings outlined specific opportunities to support Varley Rafael Australia in the manufacturing, integration and sustainment of advanced defence systems in Australia, including the fifth generation Spike LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile, cutting-edge active protection systems (APS), passive protection systems and remote weapon systems.
Managing director of Varley Group Jeff Phillips said the long-term vision of the joint venture is to upskill and partner with Australian suppliers to deliver Australian made capabilities. Varley Rafael Australia will combine Varley Group’s experience of delivering systems to the Australian Defence Force with a technology transfer program from Rafael Advanced Systems.
Varley Rafael Australia also outlined opportunities for transferring advanced technology to Australia, including manufacturing and integrating precision electro-mechanical sub-assemblies; manufacturing advanced circuit card assemblies and multi-layered printed circuit boards; precision computer numerical control machining; injection moulding; and surface coating.
While a location for the facility remains undecided, Varley Rafael said the near-term focus is on engineering development and integration, systems assembly, Australian supply chain management, upskilling, simulation and in-service support.
"The joint venture will provide centralised access to Rafael’s global supply chain and network of international partners and customers. Rafael’s recent export order from Wollongong-based Bisalloy Steels demonstrates the benefit for Australia of Rafael’s increased engagement," Spitzer said.
Varley Rafael have also stressed that qualified Australian suppliers will also be able to deliver precision manufactured components to Rafael’s global supply chain, providing export opportunities.