Lockheed Martin Australia signed a landmark AUD$500 million contract with the Department of Defence to build Australia’s future Joint Air Battle Management System under project – AIR6500 Phase 1 (AIR6500-1). This system will provide Defence with an advanced integrated air and missile defence capability, using next-gen technologies, to combat high-speed threats. 

Stewarded by Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia, AIR6500-1 will be built in Australia by Australians. A significant majority of the AIR6500-1 program workshare will be allocated across Australian industry to develop and deliver this strategic, national endeavour. 

Under AIR6500-1, an eight-year strategic partnership will generate important economic benefits, including over 230 new jobs across Adelaide, Williamtown and Canberra. Career opportunities include high value STEM roles such as engineering, software development, cyber, and project management.  

A further 300 in-direct jobs will be created in Australia’s air and missile defence supply chain and provide opportunities for Australian industry to benefit from a global $83B export market. Lockheed Martin Australia is also investing in the establishment of a National Integrated Air and Missile Defence Ecosystem to support Defence.   

“We are honoured to be the Australian Defence Force’s strategic partner and lead the delivery of AIR6500-1. At the core of this 21st Century Security, joint all-domain system is Australian industry,” said Erika Marshall, vice president, C4ISR, Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems. 

“Together with the Department of Defence, we are harnessing the ingenuity found in Australian small-to-medium enterprises, industry primes and academia to build a transformational capability that will establish Australia’s Defence Force as one of the most highly advanced in the world.” 

Ahead of the AIR6500-1 contract signing, Lockheed Martin Australia developed an Operator Evaluation System for the Joint Air Battle Management System. This was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. Using this system, Defence’s air battle managers can access a secure test environment to provide feedback on AIR6500-1’s design and functionality. This feedback will inform future development activities. 

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Warren McDonald commended Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia’s AIR6500 Team on achieving this historic strategic partnership. 

“AIR6500-1 will give Australia and our allies a greater level of connectivity and interoperability to counter current and future air and missile threats.” He added, “In a contested and fast-moving environment, AIR6500-1 will give decision makers more time to consider and respond to a situation – time in these circumstances is a precious commodity.”