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Ukraine war a “wake-up call” to accelerate missile industry

1 June 2022

The Pentagon’s former chief of weapons acquisition says an Australian guided missile production facility is vital to shore up future allied stockpiles and supply chains.

The Hon. Ellen Lord, who oversaw more than USD $400 billion in weapons procurement for the US Department of Defense during the Trump Administration, says the war in Ukraine has depleted America’s weapons stocks by 20 per cent in some areas.

She says the Australian Government’s $1 billion investment to accelerate a sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise is timely – and vital – for Australia’s national security, that of its allies and global supply chain surety.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated that simple shoulder-fired missiles such as the surface-to-air Stinger and anti-tank Javelin are effective in stopping the advance of superior armoured forces.

But reports indicate that Ukrainian troops are consuming guided munitions faster than western allies can supply them.

“The conflict in Ukraine has really been a wake-up call,” Ms Lord, a strategic advisor to the Australian Missile Corporation and NIOA, told a business forum in Brisbane.

“The US has provided the Ukraine with quite a few (weapons) systems. We were not as full in our inventories as some would have liked in terms of guided weapons before this.

“Now there is a perception ‘how do we build those inventories back up?’ There is not the capacity to do that quickly, so we have to look elsewhere.”

Ms Lord pointed to the recently inked tri-lateral AUKUS security pact between Australia, the US and UK along with America’s NTIB (National Technology Industrial Base) agreement as the policy framework to accelerate competitive military advantage.

“It’s logical to look back to Australia especially given the top cover of AUKUS. The greatest tool of diplomacy we have in the US is technology and acquisition, so we are looking to our closest allies,” she said.

The Australian Government recently appointed America’s biggest missile manufacturers - Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – to establish a domestic guided weapons industrial base, supported by local partners including the Australian Missile Corporation, Aurecon and Sovereign Missile Alliance.

Ellen M Lord resize

The Hon. Ellen Lord