BAE Systems Australia has announced agreements with the Victorian defence industry worth more than $200 million as part of its bid for LAND 400, the Australian Army’s biggest land vehicle acquisition program.
The company said that, should it be named as the successful tenderer for the contract, the agreements for the build phase of the project will create more than 100 supply chain jobs Victoria, which will have a multiplier effect creating ‘downstream employment and economic benefits’ for the state.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Glynn Phillips praised the Victorian defence industry's capabilities, along with its chosen partners' experience in manufacturing.
"Victoria’s defence industry is recognised for its world-class capabilities and the companies that we have selected as partners have proven experience and leading edge manufacturing capabilities," Phillips said.
"Australian production, future upgrades and support of these world-class vehicles will create long-term jobs and deliver strong, sustainable economic benefits throughout the community.”
Australian industry will also participate in the upgrade and maintenance of the vehicles during their decades of service in the Australian army.
Companies included in the announcement include Marand, MOOG Australia, MoTeC, AME Systems, RUAG Australia, DVR Engineering, Milspec and APV.
LAND 400 partner Marand will manufacture the hulls of the combat proven AMV35, while the other Victorian suppliers will contribute specialist manufacturing expertise including heavy fabrication, electronic systems and complex assemblies.
BAE Systems has committed to producing the AMV35 locally and will invest 20,000 hours to transfer the advanced manufacturing knowledge and capability to the Australian workforce, ensuring long lasting employment and enduring sovereign capabilities.
Following the announcement, Victoria's Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan said the state's manufacturing expertise and transitioning automotive industry made Victoria a prime candidate for this defence project.
"There's no question Victoria has the expertise and the advanced manufacturing capabilities to deliver these military vehicles," Minister Noonan said.
"With our automotive industry in transition, Victoria's world-class defence supply chain businesses are leading the way in generating new jobs and opportunities for local workers.
"We recognise the importance of defence supply chain businesses, and that's why we're supporting them with a new $2 million fund to secure future contracts."
Earlier this year, Rheinmetall, the other contender for the LAND 400 project, announced it had shortlisted Victoria and Queensland as its preferred location for the manufacturing site of the vehicles if its bid is successful.
At the time of the announcement, Minister Noonan said, "Victoria is Australia's home of military vehicle manufacturing and we are doing everything we can to maintain our world-class reputation.
"The LAND 400 Phase 2 project is worth billions to our economy and we'll continue working to secure this contract for Victoria."
Queensland Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham also said Queensland's shortlisting is a reflection of the state's strong defence capabilities.
"This is an endorsement of our state’s capabilities in land defence and heavy vehicle manufacturing and sustainment,” Minister Lynham said.
While BAE Systems has not yet made a decision regarding the location of the vehicle manufacturing facility, it said further announcements about partnerships with leading SMEs in other states and territories will be made soon.