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Defence appoints inaugural GWEO head

Defence has appointed the former Chief of CASG’s Aerospace Systems Division, AVM Leon Phillips OAM, inaugural Chief of the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise. The GWEO Enterprise will accelerate the establishment of a local long-range guided weapons and munitions manufacturing industry here in Australia.

The Defence Strategic Review recommended the appointment of a Senior Officer with the sole responsibility of leading the GWEO Enterprise, reporting directly to the Secretary of the Department of Defence and the Chief of the Australian Defence Force. AVM Phillips will be promoted to Air Marshal and will commence his new role on 8 May 2023. He is a former Chief Engineer of Aerospace Systems Division as well as Engineering Manager for both the Classic Hornet upgrade (or HUG) Project, Air 5376 Ph.2.2, and the Wedgetail AEW&C program under Project Air 5077.

“Air Vice-Marshal Phillips has over 36 years of experience in the Royal Australian Air Force predominantly delivering highly complex aerospace projects and managing their in-service support,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.  “He has a strong track record of establishing effective partnerships with defence industry.

A key recommendation of the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) was to accelerate and expand weapons systems, including land-based maritime strike and long-range missile launchers – to be complemented by investments to replenish the ADF’s GWEO stocks and to establish sovereign missile and munition manufacturing facilities in Australia.

In response, Defence has committed $2.5 billion over the forward estimates for GWEO, an increase of more than $1.5 billion. This investment will help fund the manufacture of guided weapons and their critical components to improve the ADF’s self-reliance and Australia’s export capacity.

In total, Defence is committing $4.1 billion over the forward estimates to acquire more long-range strike systems and manufacture longer-range munitions here in Australia. The department says this investment in key capabilities will better equip the ADF to meet Australia’s strategic circumstances, including increasing the artillery range of the Australian Army from 40 kilometres to in excess of 500 kilometres.

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