Initial Focus on LRASM-SL
Lockheed Martin and Thales Australia are teaming to deliver a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability, the companies announced on 21 April.
The partners will cooperate in the design, development and production of Lockheed Martin’s Long Range Anti-Ship Missile – Surface Launch (LRASM SL) variant, with a specific focus on booster and rocket motor technologies. They have unique and complementary expertise in the manufacture and delivery of weapons capabilities, which will provide further impetus for the government’s objective of expanding sovereign defence industrial and manufacturing capability. The teaming agreement advances the proven and mature LRASM maritime strike capability across further platforms, for the next generation of surface and ground launch domains.
Joe North, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia, stated the agreement represents not only a significant commitment to the delivery of sovereign manufacturing capability, but recognises that local industry is also investing in opportunities for local manufacturing and production. “This is a step change for future weapons manufacture in Australia – through technology transfer and innovation we see the opportunity to drive the creation of a skilled local workforce, build [resilience] in supply chains and help secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities for now and into the future […] Lockheed Martin has a proud history of successfully developing and delivering world-class capabilities to our customers. The opportunity to work with the team at Thales Australia, the largest manufacturer of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a successful track record of delivering ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services, has the makings of a great partnership for the future.”
Chris Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer at Thales Australia, observed that development of booster and rocket motor technology for the LRASM was an indicator of the advanced R&D and industrial capabilities offered by the company. “High performance propellants and explosives for warheads, solid fuel rocket motor manufacturing and associated R&D and support services delivered by Thales Australia are essential to achieve sovereign guided weapons capability […] Thales currently employs over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces. And we work with over 500 Australian small and medium enterprises and a large range of weapons systems [prime contractors] to ensure the ADF receives the locally-manufactured munitions they need.”