Lockheed to supply Australia with air battle management system

Lockheed to supply Australia with air battle management system

The Australian arm of defense company Lockheed Martin said it inked a contract to build the country’s Joint Air Battle Management System, considered foundational to the intercept of hostile missiles and aircraft.

The deal for JABMS, which will supply the command-and-control architecture for the country’s future air defense, is valued at AUD $500 million, or about U.S. $320 million, Lockheed Martin Australia said April 24. Lockheed last year bested rival Northrop Grumman to lead Australia’s closely related AIR6500-1 effort.

The endeavors have together been likened to the U.S. military’s vision of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or CJADC2, in which information and firepower flow seamlessly across land, air, sea, space and cyber. Achieving that milestone requires armed services that can easily talk to each other and weapons and ordnance that can be coordinated across vast distances.

“AIR6500-1 will give Australia and our allies a greater level of connectivity and interoperability to counter current and future air and missile threats,” Warren McDonald, Lockheed’s chief executive for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.

“In a contested and fast-moving environment,” he added, “AIR6500-1 will give decision makers more time to consider and respond to a situation — time in these circumstances is a precious commodity.”

Work to overhaul Australia’s overhead defenses and digital connectivity is expected to generate hundreds of local jobs as well as open the door to a multibillion-dollar export market.

Technologies developed and deployed down under could be adopted worldwide. The U.S. considers Australia a preeminent partner in the Indo-Pacific — a region where billions of dollars are being poured to thwart Chinese ambitions. Washington sees Beijing as the No. 1 national security hazard.

“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,” Erika Marshall, a Lockheed vice president, said in a statement.

Lockheed is the world’s largest defense contractor when ranked by defense-related revenue. The company made $63.3 billion in 2022 and $64.4 billion in 2021, according to Defense News Top 100 analysis.

Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers military networks, cyber and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely Cold War cleanup and nuclear weapons development — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina. Colin is also an award-winning photographer.

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