Home Strategy Northrop Grumman boost Aussie presence with new SA support facility

Northrop Grumman boost Aussie presence with new SA support facility

Defence industry technbology company Northrop Grumman has opened its new repair facility at South Australia’s Royal Australian Air Force Edinburgh base.

The official opening of the new facility follows Northrop Grumman's annuncement earlier this week that it is investing $50 million to develop an advanced defence electronics maintenance and sustainment centre in Western Sydney near the federal government’s recently announced second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek.

Northrop Grumman says the facility will provide more efficient in-country support services for the repair and maintenance of laser-based Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) systems.

LAIRCM systems are currently installed on six RAAF aircraft types, 57 aircraft total, with plans to add three additional platforms in the next five years.

The LAIRCM system functions by automatically detecting a missile launched at an aircraft, determining if it is a threat, and activating a high-intensity laser-based counter-measure system to track and defeat the missile.

The only such systems currently in high-rate production, LAIRCM systems are either installed or scheduled for installation on more than 1500 military aircraft worldwide to protect more than 75 different large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing platforms from infrared missile attacks.

“The opening of this facility at RAAF Edinburgh, in partnership with the RAAF and Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group exemplifies Northrop Grumman’s plans to substantially grow its Australian footprint over the coming period,” said Ian Irving, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Australia.

“It also demonstrates our commitment to expanding our sustainment and logistics activities here at RAAF Edinburgh and elsewhere across Australia, in support of Australian Defence Force platforms and capabilities.

“The ability to sustain key systems and capabilities such as these in Australia is an important sovereign capability, resulting in the development of new high technology skill sets, and reduced handling and turnaround time on servicing, repairs and upgrades.”

Mary Petryszyn, vice-president and general manager, land & avionics C4ISR division, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, said that nearly 16 years ago, the Royal Australian Air Force became the company’s first international customer for our laser-based infrared countermeasures system”.

“This facility will contribute to our customers’ continued mission success, significantly broaden our maintenance capabilities and reduce repair times by up to 50 percent. This increases the availability of major RAAF platforms and systems because we are now able to do the work directly in Australia with a local Australian workforce.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).