Lockheed Martin has secured a contract for 765 million Australian dollars ($487 million) to begin the first phase of Canberra’s Air6500 missile defense project.
The company edged out fellow American defense giant Northrop Grumman in the bid to provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a Joint Air Battle Management System (JABMS) for future Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability.
Lockheed’s first-of-its-kind JABMS would provide improved situational awareness and defense against increasingly advanced air and missile threats.
It is also expected to give the ADF an increased level of interoperability with the US and other allied forces.
“This critical capability will allow the ADF to leverage information from across all domains at greater speeds, with better accuracy, and at a greater scale than it is capable of today,” company vice president Stephanie C. Hill said.
Lockheed Martin revealed that it has been working on a version of the Australian JABMS for more than seven years.
It has also invested roughly 100 million Australian dollars ($65 million) of its own money and doubled the size of its workforce to support the Air6500 project.
The company’s winning proposal includes what it claims is “a world first” passive radar built by Australian firm Silentium Defence.
Called the MAVERICK, the radar system tracks reflections of objects from radio waves, enabling accurate detection of threats from Low Earth Orbit to the surface of the sea.
The JABMS also integrates Consunet’s electromagnetic battle management subsystem, which allows pilots to stay undetected by enemy radars and sensors.
“To deliver on this key strategic national endeavor, we are leveraging our vast experience delivering battle-proven Integrated Air and Missile Defense systems and harnessing the full might of [the] Australian [defense] industry,” Lockheed official Warren McDonald explained.
Northrop Grumman had offered its sovereign, fifth-generation JABMS, which leverages a proven US all-domain command and control architecture.
It is designed to link sensors and effectors across multiple domains to optimize response to air and missile threats.
The system’s modular design allows accelerated decision making utilizing current and future platforms.
“This technology is relevant now and will continue to be relevant into the future, providing an effective and enduring defensive capability to Australia and its allies,” Northrop vice president Mary Petryszyn said.