Defence has announced a $37.5 million contract with Lockheed Martin Australia to provide the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with deployable mission systems facilities that will create 35 jobs spread across Newcastle and Adelaide.
The $37.5 million contract will see Lockheed Martin provide portable facilities that will house top secret systems and support staff for Air Force operations deployed overseas, primarily for the new Joint Strike Fighters (JSF).
Fifteen new jobs will be directly employed by Lockheed Martin across Adelaide, Newcastle and Canberra, while the additional 20 will be in the Newcastle region, contributing to a local and sustainable defence industry, which Lockheed Martin said will create the possibility of future follow-on sales and export opportunities on completion of the initial contract period from April 2020
Lockheed Martin Australia is working with local Hunter-based defence industry company the Varley Group to provide this full solution to the RAAF, including a suite of computing and information technology solutions.
The Australian-based small-medium enterprise will ensure the new deployable facilities will be able to be supported and maintained in Australia.
Vince Di Pietro, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia, said the work with Varley Group is another important part of transforming and growing the Australian manufacturing ecosystem.
"We know that investing in local Australian enterprises, particularly those involved in advanced manufacturing, will transform our local and international industry," said Di Pietro.
"Varley has been a proven performer on our F-35 program and further expanding this partnership gives us the local skills and expertise to improve our support to Defence.
"Lockheed Martin Australia’s objective is to raise the technology base in Australia and build innovative Australian businesses into long-term partners. Our systems and advanced engineering capabilities allow the Australian Defence Force and local industry to remain on the forefront of technology and innovation."
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said the acquisition is key part of the JSF program, but one that also benefits the Australian industry.
"Acquiring these new portable, Australian made cabins is an important part of our Joint Strike Fighter program and will mean that our top secret systems and personnel who support our jets on the ground will be securely housed and protected," Minister Pyne said.
"Varley is already a key contributor in the production supply chain for the global F-35 Program by supplying F-35 aircraft maintenance slings.
"Australian industry is benefiting greatly from participation as a key strategic partner in the F-35 Program.
"More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than $800 million in production contracts to date, with hundreds more Australian companies indirectly benefiting through supply chain work."
The deployable ICT facility will support F-35 missions by housing a portable ALIS or enabling connection to ALIS elsewhere in the world.
ALIS provides the off-board information system hardware, software and data that performs maintenance management, fault diagnostic, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35 weapons system.
The portable cabins will also hold the off-board mission planning system that would be used across the F-35A, F/A-18F Super Hornet, E/A-18 Growler and P-8 Poseidon.
The project will enable information and connectivity in remote and regional locations to meet the needs of the ADF. Each information and technology facility will provide a protected space for operating information and computer technology systems.
"This acquisition is part of the transformation required to make Australia the most technologically advanced small modern air force in the world and optimise Australia’s individual Defence capabilities by operating as a truly networked force," said Minister Pyne.
Distinct from Australia’s global F-35 contract value of work, this Defence contract is direct with an Australian company that provides a sovereign requirement for ADF-specific requirements.