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Australian AEGIS Support for Lockheed Martin

The Australian government has awarded Lockheed Martin (LMT) a contract to provide engineering services for their AEGIS weapons systems for their new anti-air warfare destroyers. The AEGIS weapon system has been in use with the U.S. Navy and Japan since the late 1970′s. It is an integrated suite of search and fire control radars, other sensors, data links and software used to detect, track and identify targets and engage them with missiles, guns and other ship based weapons. The contract is worth almost $200 million.

The AEGIS system was originally developed by part of RCA which was acquired by General Electric (GE). Ultimately this business unit was sold to Martin Marietta who merged with Lockheed in the 1990′s. The system has been installed on CG 47 and DDG 51 class surface warships. The system has been further modified to conduct anti-ballistic missile missions using variants of the STANDARD Missile originally designed for anti-air missions.

The new SEA 4000 Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers will be made by Spain’s Navantia in a contract valued at around $8 billion (AUS). They will represent a significant upgrade to the Australian Navy’s existing air defense assets. They will be manufactured in Australia and are part of a general investment in upgrading the Australian military that includes the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and new armored vehicles. The design is based on the F100 platform already in use by Spain with the American SPY-1D (V) radar and AEGIS Weapon System.

As the U.S. defense budget declines American contractors are going to look for contracts like this overseas. U.S. Allies will remain a potent source of work although this system like many other new investments shows the diversity of the world’s defense industry. In the past it would have been difficult to put a system like AEGIS on a non-U.S. ship but it has already been installed on Spain’s F100 class ships making integration and the sale to Australia easier.

Certainly Lockheed Martin will hope that other countries invest in the system.

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