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17 February 2016

Defence White Paper I: Lockheed Martin Hopeful for Australian Naval Contracts

Raydon Gates, chief executive, said that Lockheed Martin Australia recorded US$253m turnover in 2015 and have forward orders of US$1.1 billion.

Following the internal changes within Lockheed Martin the company will decrease in size from around 1,000 personnel currently to less than 700 when the Information Systems & Global Solutions is divested, but will grow again with the inclusion of the Sikorsky personnel to around 900 prior to any further expansion.

Australia’s F-35 programme is in slow rate production with eight aircraft to be built over the coming year (Australia is still committed to 72 in total). The first two aircraft have already been delivered.

The 18th Royal Australian Navy MH-60R is now in Australia with the last of the 24 ordered now being built in the United States. Said Gates, “ it brings back a dipping sonar capability which we have not had for decades.”

One of the main areas of future business that Lockheed Martin is hopeful of securing should be revealed when the Defence White Paper is published in late February / early March. It is expected to focus unsurprisingly on maritime security for, as Gates pointed out, 96% of Australia’s traditional trade by weight is delivered by sea. Future RAN programmes that Lockheed Martin hopes to participate in include the Sea 1000 submarine, Sea 5000 frigate and Sea 4000 air warfare destroyer.

Andrew Drwiega