The Australian defence companies have thrown their hats in the race to support the Commonwealth government’s sovereign guided weapons initiative.
Electro Optic Systems (EOS) and Nova Systems have announced the launch of the Sovereign Missile Alliance (SMA) — a new Australian owned, operated and controlled joint venture, which aims to establish and deliver a long-standing Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise (GWEOE) capability for the ADF.
EOS and Nova Systems have committed to leveraging a workforce of over 1,000 local employees, and a domestic supply chain of more than 600 Australian businesses, to provide the resources and funding opportunities necessary to initiate the GWEOE.
SMA’s offering, includes:
- sovereign management and control;
- an extensive supply chain network qualified to defence aerospace standards;
- design and development of military aerospace products;
- test and evaluation, certification and systems assurance;
- systems integration;
- rocket motors and propulsion; and
- advanced technology from the largest R&D and tertiary collaboration programs in Australian defence industry.
“The sovereign capability to deliver guided weapons already exists in-country and the SMA creates an Australian owned entity of scale with the required capabilities, resources, funding and established relationships across the broader Defence ecosystem to start this journey with the Commonwealth now,” Jim McDowell, group CEO at Nova Systems, said.
The SMA, which has committed to remaining “missile vendor neutral”, will not require approvals or permissions from foreign partners to deliver sovereign missile requirements.
The co-operative plans to establish a “sustainable, domestic capacity” through a Common User Facility to develop foreign missiles under licence, using the joint venture’s indigenous supply chain.
“We have the core competencies, advanced R&D capabilities, existing IP, and established technology partnerships to create the next generation of guided weapons optimised for Australian requirements with full sovereign ownership and control,” Dr Ben Greene, CEO of EOS, said.
“The Common User Facility will progressively move to produce these missiles.”
This announcement comes less than a month after Defence published a request for information (RFI) on AusTender, seeking input from defence industry and academia regarding capacity and interest in supporting the Commonwealth government’s $1 billion GWEOE.
The initiative aims to address gaps outlined in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update by providing stakeholders, both SMEs and established primes, with opportunities in advanced manufacturing through the establishment of industry partnerships.
Defence is currently in the process of defining key requirements for the enterprise.
SMA is the latest industry partnership to express interest in supporting the program, with local munitions company NIOA setting up the Australian Missile Corporation (AMC) as part of its bid.
A number of firms have joined the AMC consortium, including Quickstep, Moog Australia, Black Sky Aerospace and Thomas Global Systems.
Lockheed Martin Australia and Thales Australia have also 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 will specifically focus on booster and rocket motor technologies.
The establishment of a sovereign enterprise, accelerated earlier this year amid mounting regional threats, forms part of the government's investment in the early development of long-range anti-ship missiles, extended range surface-to-air missiles, advanced lightweight torpedoes and land strike capabilities.
The investment would also see the nation’s current and future submarine and surface fleets fitted with anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles with a range of approximately 370 kilometres, and maritime land strike missiles with a range of approximately 1,500 kilometres.
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.