Lockheed Martin has signed a collaborative agreement with French group Thales to establish a new missile factory in Australia.
The facility is expected to provide “highly advanced” defense manufacturing capabilities to Canberra, bolstering its ability to produce military weapons and equipment at home.
The company said it had tapped the services of Australian firm Conscia to identify potential future manufacturing locations.
Thales is the only company in Australia with the demonstrated ability to design, manufacture and certify military-relevant solid rocket motors, rocket motor cases, and exhaust nozzles. This has been successfully demonstrated through the Nulka active missile decoy system to deliver programs including the vital ARMTD program with DST Group and LRASM-SL boost program with Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin Vice President Pat Sunderlin revealed that the new factory would be ready two to three years after the final location selection.
The agreement will see experienced strategic industry partners in Lockheed Martin and Thales Australia 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.
“The message is clear here. We’re open for business,” he said. “Lockheed Martin will deliver and transfer to Australia the same level of technology and development and advanced programs and systems that we have in our factories in the US.”
Lockheed Martin is one of the largest suppliers of guided weapons to the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Building a new factory in the country will advance the company’s goal of increasing the speed of production, reliability, and quality of missile weapons delivered to the ADF.
It will also reportedly bring Canberra closer to the future export capability of Australian-manufactured products.
“Lockheed Martin Australia and Thales Australia have unique and complementary backgrounds and expertise in the manufacture and delivery of weapons capabilities that together will provide further impetus for the Australian Government’s objective of expanding the national defense industrial and manufacturing capability,” Lockheed official James Heading stated.
Lockheed is also expanding its administrative offices in the country to support various manufacturing activities.
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