The government announced today it would accelerate the creation of a $1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, boosting skilled jobs and helping secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.
FILE PHOTO: HMAS Arunta fires an Evolved Sea Sparrow missile off the coast of Western Australia to test its missile systems after undergoing the Anzac Midlife Capability Assurance Program upgrade. Photo by Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft.
Prime Minister Morrison said Defence would select a strategic industry partner to operate a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability as a key part of the new enterprise.
“This new enterprise will support missile and guided-weapons manufacturing for use across the Australian Defence Force,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
“Creating a sovereign defence-industrial capability is a key priority for the government while also creating new opportunities for jobs and small business growth.
“Creating our own sovereign capability on Australian soil is essential to keep Australians safe, while also providing thousands of local jobs in businesses right across the defence supply chain.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it vaccine development or the defence of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment.
“It’s an imperative we now proceed with the creation of a sovereign guided-weapons capability as a priority, accelerating this process following the idea first being explored in the Force Structure Plan.”
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said that the government would use a Smart Buyer process to select an experienced strategic industry partner to build a sovereign capability to manufacture a suite of precision weapons that would meet Australia’s growing needs and provide export opportunities as a second source of supply.
“The manufacturing and supply of weapons in Australia will not only benefit and enhance our ADF operational capacity but will ensure we have adequate supply of weapon stock holdings to sustain combat operations if global supply chains are disrupted,” Minister Dutton said.
“To advance this initiative I will be designating the Chief of Joint Capabilities as the capability manager for the national guided weapons enterprise to ensure that we leverage this strategic capability across the ADF and beyond.
“We will work closely with the United States on this important initiative to ensure that we understand how our enterprise can best support both Australia’s needs and the growing needs of our most important military partner.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said that, according to defence-industry estimates, this new national enterprise could be worth $40 billion in local production and export over the next 20 years.
The Prime Minister’s press release said that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimated that Australia would spend $100 billion in the next 20 years on missile and guided weapons purchases.
“Utilising sophisticated manufacturing processes, industry also says this could create well over 2000 jobs in different locations across the nation,” Minister Price said.
“Australia’s defence industry already has tremendous capability in the area of weapons technology, including the Nulka decoy missile and the government-owned, contractor-operated explosives factories at Benalla and Mulawa.
“The government is confident that this represents the necessary industrial capability that will be transferrable to areas like guided weapons.”