BAE Systems is to fast track the development of a sovereign hypersonic missile for Australia within the next four years.
The development program, which is being called Project Javelin, will partner with aerospace and defence companies as well as academic organisations in Australia to build a high speed weapons eco-system, including a demonstrator.
In addition to hypersonics weapons technologies and capabilities the program will develop technologies to support Australia’s defence against high speed weapons.
BAE Systems said it has invested more than US$11 million in hypersonics and high speed weapon research in Australia in the past decade. It plans to spend US$5 million on hypersonic development in the remainder of this year and make additional investments before 2025.
The company’s announcement follows the Australian Government’s commitment to the development of long-range strike capabilities at the end of last year. Australia’s 2020 Force Structure Plan includes an investment of around US$30 billion for both high speed strike and defence capabilities, including hypersonics development, test and evaluation.
BAE Systems Australia’s chief technology officer Brad Yelland said, “That Australia has a solid foundation of research built over decades means that the rapid integration of newly developed weapons into the force structure is achievable.
“BAE Systems has a rich history of working closely with defence companies and defence customers around the world, particularly US Primes on weapons programs.
“Australia’s future investment in high-speed weapons systems, including hypersonic long-range strike and hypersonic and ballistic missile defence, provides the opportunity for the nation to create an enduring sovereign capability and position the country as a major global contributor in this disruptive technology field.
“It’s so important that the Intellectual Property of new weapons technologies resides with Australia so that as well as developing a sovereign capabilities, we can continue our work with defence, academia and industry to evolve these technologies over time.”
BAE Systems Australia said Project Javelin complements its existing industrial capabilities in advanced manufacturing and prototyping, battlespace management systems and flight vehicle platform technologies. Meanwhile, the project will benefit Australian industry and academia, through the investment of new and complementary design, development and manufacturing capabilities and could lead to potential defence exports.
BAE Systems has been assembling weapons in Australia for the Australian Defence Force and for export to the US and Canada for more than two decades.