MBDA, Europe’s leading missile and missile systems company, has opened an office in Canberra, Australia in line with its strategy aimed at placing Australia firmly at the hub of its current and future Asia-Pacific operations.
Heading up the office is Andy Watson who explains the rationale behind this important step made by MBDA: “We are looking at the potential of expanding our industrial activities in Australia and this will require a network of industrial partners with whom we can work to provide through-life solutions for certain products that we feel are highly relevant to Australia’s current and future requirements. MBDA’s fire-and-forget CAMM missile for naval and land based air defence has great potential in the Asia-Pacific region, especially given the missile’s suitability for the widely used MK 41 naval launch system. The MK 41 currently equips nearly 60 ships in this region, a figure which includes ships within the Royal Australian Navy, so our future customer base could see increasing levels of support work needing to be carried out in Australia”.
MBDA already has a long history of working with the Australian armed forces, having supplied and supported weapon systems such as Rapier (ground based air defence) and Milan(man portable anti-tank). ASRAAM, MBDA’s advanced short range air-to-air missile is currently in service with the RAAF on its fleet of F/A-18 combat aircraft.
Developing supplier relationships is a key part of MBDA’s strategy in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region. In this respect, MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding) have already been signed with Advanced Composite Structures Australia, Associated Electronic Services, Daronmont Technologies, Nova Systems and Pennant Australasia. The company is in close discussion with a number of other companies with whom it hopes to sign MoUs very shortly. As time progresses, these partnerships will see Australian SMEs gaining access, as part of a global supply chain, to high level defence projects which will of course be a long-term bonus for the Australian defence industry sector as well as to MBDA’s own global customer proposition. Looking to the long term, MBDA has also made contact with academic bodies carrying out research into next generation products, one example being the Institute for Photonics and Sensing (IPAS) at the University of Adelaide.