Working in partnership to deliver the Australian Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise
First announced in March 2021, the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise is a key Government priority and central to Australia’s modern Defence capabilities.
Lockheed Martin is proud to be a GWEO Enterprise Strategic Partner, alongside Raytheon Australia, and over the past two years, has been investing in infrastructure and working closely with both industry and the Government to realise this critical domestic defence capability for Australia.
Building a national capability
From its inception, Lockheed Martin recognised the need to establish mechanisms and a structure to conduct business effectively with the Commonwealth and Australian Defence Force (ADF) in the delivery of the GWEO Enterprise.
In June 2022, Lockheed Martin formed the Australian Defence Strategic Capabilities Office (ADSCO) as part of Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) business area.
Headed up by Ken Kota, Vice President, Strategic Capabilities Office, the ADSCO team is made up of United States (US) and Australian Lockheed Martin personnel with deep knowledge and expertise in the delivery of advanced integrated technologies for complex aerospace and defence capabilities.
ADSCO works closely with the Commonwealth, ADF and industry partners, scoping and planning the delivery of the GWEO inventory and Australia’s industrial capability to manufacture and maintain GWEO.
“Lockheed Martin will transfer to Australia the same level of technology and service delivery as in many of our US advanced weapon factories – accelerating the development of advanced guided weapon manufacturing capabilities in Australia,” said Ken Kota.
“Our factories across the US are built on digital foundations to incorporate smart manufacturing components, embrace interconnectivity and automation, and deliver cutting-edge solutions to our customers rapidly and affordably.”
Lockheed Martin has invested millions of dollars in facilities and office space in Australia, including an office in Canberra and a facility in Mulwala’s munitions precinct.
The Mulwala site is owned by Defence and managed by Thales Australia. In line with the Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) and Thales Australia teaming agreement to advance the delivery of an Australian guided weapons manufacturing capability in-country, LMA has leased a building on-site to support the GWEO Enterprise in the development and production of various manufacturing activities.
Leading infrastructure advisory firm, Conscia, has been engaged to identify other potential industrial sites and Lockheed Martin is actively positioning to have sustained in-country manufacturing, and strong partnerships in place as soon as possible.
For Australian communities and businesses, this expansion translates to economic growth and increased job opportunities. In October 2022, LMA committed AUD$74 million to establish a new national Integrated Air and Missile Defence Centre in the Newcastle region in NSW – expected to create more than 400 direct, and 1,000 indirect, local jobs.
“Lockheed Martin has an established track record of growing skilled local workforces and building resiliency in supply chains, working with Australian small and medium enterprises to advance national industrial capabilities,” said James Heading, Director of Programs, Strategic Capabilities Office.
In early 2023, Lockheed Martin held industry engagement days across the state of Victoria, as part of its commitment to work closely with Australian defence industry suppliers and keep them informed about potential GWEO-related business opportunities.
Over 300 businesses attended the industry engagement events with many registering their interest in the selection process to be onboarded as a supplier of choice for the GWEO Enterprise.
“We are actively engaging with suppliers, partners and small businesses to give them every opportunity to partner with Lockheed Martin Australia to deliver world-class capability to the GWEO Enterprise,” said Heading.
“We deliver genuine opportunities for Australians in regional centres to develop skills in high-end industry roles including the development of advanced technologies and sustainment.”
Accelerating capability delivery
Released in April 2023, the highly anticipated Defence Strategic Review (DSR) doubled down on the ADF commitment to deliver the GWEO Enterprise – with recommendations for additional funding and an accelerated delivery timeline.
The Australian Government has prioritised the delivery of the GWEO Enterprise, appointing an inaugural Chief of GWEO and announcing plans to commence the domestic manufacture of guided missiles by 2025.
“As a Strategic Partner of the GWEO Enterprise, Lockheed Martin welcomes the recommendations of the DSR and is ready to continue working in close partnership with the Australian Government and Defence industry to accelerate the delivery of this strategically important and vital national undertaking,” said Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive, Warren McDonald.
“Lockheed Martin also welcomes the appointment of the inaugural Chief of GWEO, Air Marshal Leon Phillips, OAM, and looks forward to continuing a strong and productive working relationship with the GWEO team and ADF.”
A key recommendation of the DSR is to accelerate and expand weapons systems, including land-based maritime strike and long-range missile launchers – to be complemented by investments to replenish GWEO stocks and to establish in-country missile and munition manufacturing facilities in Australia.
To this end, Lockheed Martin has been working with the Commonwealth to fast-track the acquisition of guided weapons, increase and improve local sustainment and maintenance of guided weapons, and establish a domestic manufacturing facility to support manufacture of GWEO inventory
Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin signed a contract with the Commonwealth for the first stage in the planning and establishment of Guided Weapons Production Capability (GWPC) in Australia. Soon after, the Australian Government made a commitment to acquire 20 Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) – and associated hardware – with a DSR recommendation to increase that amount following the announcement of additional GWEO funding in the 2023 Federal Budget.
Another of the DSR recommendations is for the ADF to move to an ‘integrated force’ model, which harnesses effects across all five domains – maritime, land, air, space and cyber – reshaping the Australian Army and modernising it for the current strategic circumstances.
Lockheed Martin has a long history in advanced and proven integrated capabilities and, with support from Australian industry partners, is ready to work in collaboration with the Commonwealth and ADF to deliver tailored solutions that will provide Australia with the same depth of key technologies and advanced capabilities to maintain a decisive advantage across all domains.
“Lockheed Martin’s vision for the future is based on connected current and next-generation technologies to deter rapidly evolving threats across all domains – land, air, sea, cyber, and space,” said Tim Cahill, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President, MFC.
“Lockheed Martin has capabilities that are true multi-domain operations enablers, and its advanced network of defence technologies create an interoperable and resilient ‘network of platforms’ that provides armed forces with a complete picture of the digital battlespace and empowers users to make smarter and faster decisions.”
Future concepts also include the potential integration of Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM) on the HIMARS launcher as well as potential options to provide ongoing support, maintenance and sustainment of the HIMARS and related equipment in Australia.
Partnering for success
The establishment of the GWEO Enterprise, in the initial phases, will be reliant on support and assistance from the US – but in the longer term, success will be measured by its self-reliance and sustainability in Australia, specifically the realisation of a sustainable domestic manufacturing capability and, ultimately, foreign military and commercial sales.
As a Strategic Partner of the GWEO Enterprise, Lockheed Martin welcomes the ongoing partnership with Government, the ADF and Defence industry as we work together to deliver this vision for Australia.