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Lockheed Martin Australia to pursue $83bn IAMD export market on the back of AIR6500

Australian companies will be able to access a global Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) export market estimated to be worth $83 billion on the back of Lockheed Martin Australia’s proposed solution for Project AIR6500, the RAAF’s planned Joint Air Battle Management System.

At its upgraded Endeavour Centre in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) has showcased its proposed AIR6500 solution, demonstrating a modern Battle Management System that can fuse the inputs of Defence’s wide array of sensors into a single recognised picture, bringing clarity and cohesion to a complex undertaking. AIR6500 will replace the RAAF’s existing Air Battle Management System delivered under successive phases of Project Vigilare and associated programs.

The LMA solution for AIR6500 is designed with an undisclosed date for Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in mind. But its architecture is deliberately flexible so that new technologies and capabilities can be added quickly, meaning that its configuration could change significantly at relatively short notice while innovation will be a constant activity – which means in turn that terms like ‘Full Operational Capability’ become relatively meaningless.

The company also showcased its Australian supply chain, featuring CEOs or senior leaders from Silentium Defence, Consilium Technology, Consunet, Leidos Australia, C4i and Penten and their contribution to the total AIR6500 solution. Silentium Defence last year became the first Australian company and only the second non-US company to be admitted to Lockheed Martin’s Mentor Protégé Program for high-promise SMEs.

“Our focus on Australian industry, and how they contribute to our proposed solution, has the potential to provide a pipeline into the global IAMD enterprise” said Warren McDonald, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia New Zealand.

Lockheed Martin Australia is drawing on the best of Australian industry to deliver AIR6500. It has awarded contracts to more than 10 leading-edge companies, including QinetiQ Australia, Lucid Consulting Engineering and Daronmont. If its bid is successful, LMA has identified more than 130 other Australian SMEs as potential partners and aims to create some 400 high-value STEM jobs directly and another 1000 indirectly through the program. The company is also working with Raytheon and Boeing on its AIR6500 solution.

“By leveraging Australian companies with a strong understanding of Defence, we will create a system that connects Defence’s modern systems and display it to commanders who can make decisions with improved clarity and situational awareness,” said Kendell Kuczma, LMA’s International Business Development Director of Rotary and Missions Systems for Australia and New Zealand.

Lockheed has integrated and fielded more than 2,400 multi-domain Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) systems, or parts of systems, in 25 countries, it says. In Australia it has invested $103 million over seven years to develop the AIR6500 capability, with some 206 Australian employees working on it with a further 60 in the USA. To enable better integration and collaboration the company invested $10 million upgrading the Endeavour Centre.

The company has also committed to investing $74 million in Australia’s future IAMD ecosystem in order to create an enduring capability along with technology export opportunities. This suggests that Australia could become a key node in the development of the company’s IAMD capability worldwide.

“If ever there was a capability that you co-invest in and commit early to delivering a flexible architecture that can accommodate technological advances – it is IAMD,” said Kendell Kuczma.

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