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AVALON 2023: BAE Systems and MBDA collaborate on GWEO

BAE Systems Australia and European missile group MBDA have announced a collaboration agreement that will support Australia as it establishes its sovereign Guided Weapon and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) capability. The Australian government is expected to make GWEO-related announcements over the next two months.

The collaboration will leverage MBDA’s status as a world leading missile provider and BAE Systems’ local experience and expertise. It is a direct response to the Australian government’s stated aim of delivering an expanded Guided Weapon capability to the Australian warfighter by introducing a diversified source of supply to the ADF that will markedly enhance the local GWEO ecosystem.

“BAE Systems is delighted to announce a major industrial collaboration with MBDA to establish an enhanced Guided Weapons capability in Australia,” said BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer Ben Hudson said. “Our intent is to establish an enduring sovereign Guided Weapons capability that will leverage MBDA’s world leading Guided Weapons portfolio and combine with BAE Systems Australia’s GWEO heritage and expertise.

“This collaboration will enable access to the Australian innovation ecosystem that will deliver the next generation of missile capability to the ADF and allied armed forces globally.  Indeed, this collaboration opens the door to future guided weapons being manufactured in part, or in whole, by Australian industry.”

The intent is to develop sovereign Australian industry capability through work package transfer, product assembly and test of weapon systems.

The initial areas of collaboration will focus on the weaponisation of BAE Systems’ STRIX Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) to meet the ADF’s capability needs, alongside the development of a skills and capability initiative to upskill and build capacity within the Australian GWEO ecosystem.

The collaboration can also support agreements from forthcoming UK/Australia bi-lateral discussions, AUKUS dialogue and export opportunities to regional partner nations.

The collaboration will draw on BAE Systems’ established advanced manufacturing footprint and network of trusted industry partners, which delivers a range of GWEO capabilities, including the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) subsystems and Nulka anti-missile decoy operating on NATO, US and Australian warships.

 The collaboration will be underpinned by MBDA’s broad product portfolio, industrial capabilities, expertise and access to global markets, opening up the potential for future GWEO exports from Australia.

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