A recommendation of the Defence Strategic Review was to consolidate guided weapons and explosive ordnance (GWEO) needs across the Services and expand weapons systems, including land based maritime strike and long-range missile launchers.
On 8 May 2023, Air Marshal Leon Phillips OAM was appointed as the inaugural Chief of Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance, leading the acceleration of the GWEO Enterprise.
An investment of $4.1 billion will enable Defence to acquire more long-range strike systems and manufacture longer-range munitions in Australia, delivering on the priorities of the Defence Strategic Review.
Defence is working with industry to develop detailed costed plans for domestic manufacture of GWEO. These plans will be considered by the Government in quarter 2 2024.
Underpinning an expanded GWEO Enterprise at Defence are these critical enablers:
- Research and development
- Test and evaluation
- Storage and distribution
- Disposal and demilitarisation
- Education and training
With support from the GWEO Enterprise, Strategic Partners and international allies, Defence has:
- Accelerated the acquisition of guided weapons including Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) long-range strike missiles, naval strike missiles and sea mines. Sea mines will be maintained in Australia with a view to technical transfer to enable local electronics servicing and load, assembly and pack of sea mines.
- Agreed with the US to deepen cooperation on Australia's GWEO enterprise by collaborating on a flexible guided weapons production capability in Australia, scoping co-production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) by 2025.
- Commenced domestic manufacture of BLU-111 aircraft bombs.
The Government has agreed to investments of:
- $220 million at the munitions factories at Mulwala NSW and Benalla VIC.
- $1.3 billion on more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles for the Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart class destroyers.
- $431 million on Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile-Extended Range (AARGM-ER) missiles for the Royal Australian Air Force’s Growler and Super Hornet aircrafts, and in future the F-35A Lightning II fighter jets.
- $1.6 billion to expand and accelerate the acquisition of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) long-range rocket systems for the Australian Army.
- $50 million for Spike Long-Range 2 anti-tank guided missiles for the Australian Army’s Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles.
Strategic and Enterprise Partners
Lockheed Martin Australia and Raytheon Australia are the initial Strategic Partners of the GWEO Enterprise, supported by Aurecon and Australian Missile Corporation as Enterprise Partners.
There will be opportunities for industry to participate in the GWEO Enterprise across every level of the national and global supply chains. Contact Defence's Strategic Partners for more information.
Note, Defence has strict provision in place to manage conflicts of interest and probity issues around the function of enterprise partners.
Manufacturing, storage and distribution
The facilities at Mulwala NSW and Benalla VIC are key assets within the GWEO Enterprise and will play a role in the expansion of domestic GWEO manufacturing.
The planned growth in the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) GWEO inventory will require an expanded storage and distribution capacity. Defence's Enterprise Partners have been tasked with developing accelerated storage and distribution options.
Research and development
For businesses interested in the research and development element of the GWEO Enterprise visit the Defence Science and Technology Group website.
Australian State and Territory opportunities
There are expected to be opportunities for every State and Territory. The GWEO Enterprise is not just focussed on manufacturing GWEO but also incorporates research and development, an expanded storage and distribution network, testing and evaluation, and training and education. These activities will be distributed around the country.
Working with the United States
United States (US) support and assistance is critical to the success of the GWEO Enterprise. Defence has held a series of roundtable discussions with the US, which sought to identify:
- potential weapons components that could be manufactured in Australia, informed by US supply chain constraints
- specific requests for US technology transfer and access to intellectual property to enable agreed production.
The US reaffirmed its support for the enterprise at AUSMIN 2023.
The AUKUS agreement gives Australia confidence there are structures in place that will allow the sharing of sensitive information in ways that haven’t been possible before.
Defence staff are working directly with the US Government and Defence industry to better understand the requirements we need to satisfy to ensure greater access to sensitive technology.