BAE Systems Australia has announced plans build a world-class defence hub in Victoria, consolidating the company’s Victorian Maritime, Aerospace and Land businesses into a single facility that will foster collaboration and innovation, delivering sustainable jobs over multiple projects for decades to come.

Located at the former GM Holden site at Fishermans Bend, the defence hub will be the biggest of its type in the nation and is where BAE Systems plans to manufacture the Australian Army’s Armed Combat Reconnaissance vehicles. The most diverse defence hub of its type, the site will enable up to 1,000 engineers and highly skilled technicians to design, develop, deliver and maintain new defence platforms and systems for the Australian Defence Force.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan on 1 August visited the Fishermans Bend site to announce that Victoria had been selected as the preferred state by BAE Systems to build 225 new Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles. The Andrews Labor Government has signed a Heads of Agreement with BAE Systems to build the state-of-the-art vehicles at Fishermans Bend, should it win the contract for the LAND 400 Phase Two project. The final decision on which state is awarded the contract rests with the Turnbull Government.

“Victoria is the traditional home of vehicle manufacturing, and this project would create thousands of jobs at a time when our automotive sector is in transition,” said Premier Daniel Andrews. “Our message to Malcolm Turnbull is simple – bring this work to Victoria. We have the workforce, the track record and the supply chain to get it done.”

“Victoria’s automotive workers deserve certainty at a time when local car manufacturing is coming to an end,” added Minister for Industry and Employment Wade Noonan. “This project is the perfect opportunity to harness our highly-skilled manufacturing workforce and build the next-generation of combat vehicles that will help keep our troops safe.”

“The creation of this new defence hub will provide sustainable, long-term, highly skilled work for Australians and further develop and grow the nation’s Sovereign Industry Capability,” said BAE Systems Australia CEO Glynn Phillips. “I am delighted that we can be part of Victoria’s ambition to develop a defence industry that is globally focused, supporting the transition to a stronger and more diversified economy that will benefit all Australians.”

The LAND 400 Phase Two project is worth around $5bn and would create more than 2,000 manufacturing and supply chain jobs in Victoria. The new fleet of vehicles will replace the current Australian Light Armoured Vehicle fleet.

Integral to the development at Fishermans Bend will be a bespoke LAND 400 advanced manufacturing centre that will include a simulation and training and a test facility. More than 200 people will be employed during the build phase of the LAND 400 program.Once in service, the centre will be used to upgrade and maintain the vehicles over their 30-plus year service life. The defence hub will be a centralised point of collaboration with the Commonwealth for Land programs and possible future export customers. BAE Systems is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)of the M88 Hercules recovery vehicle, the M777 155mm, 39mm towed gun, and the M113 armoured personnel carrier.

The hub will also include a globally competitive aerospace business that develops leading edge autonomous systems, electronic warfare, hypersonics and weapons technology including the nation’s most defence successful defence export, Nulka. A decoy that lures enemy missiles away from ships, Nulka has provided Australia with more than $1bn in exports during production.

BAE Systems operates Australia’s largest naval sustainment business maintaining and upgrading Royal Australian Navy ships, and much of this work will now be conducted at Fishermans Bend. More than 200 engineers and specialist employees will be based at the new site supporting Royal Australian naval ships across Australia. This centre of excellence for Maritime engineering capability will support Australia’s national shipbuilding strategy, including the design, build and sustainment of Australia’s Future Frigates.

By being collocated with defence research organisations, universities and leading national advanced manufacturing businesses, BAE Systems’ defence hub will ensure an environment of collaboration and innovation across air, land and sea defence domains, providing enduring and sustainable jobs. BAE Systems has committed to creating a national supply chain to support its Land 400 operations and recently committed to $200m worth of work to eight Victorian companies. Victorian defence companies would get a large share of the work, with BAE Systems agreeing to partner with Marand, MOOG Australia, Motec, AME Systems, RUAG Australia, DVR Engineering and APV to build vehicle components. Victoria’s defence sector is worth $8bn to the local economy every year, and is made up of about 20,000 people and 400 businesses.