Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) has announced its Brisbane-based Sikorsky Australia operations will be consolidated at Nowra by 31 January 2020.
The move will see Sikorsky Australia’s Brisbane Airport facility closed and all of the operations previously at Brisbane re-located to its sustainment facility adjacent to HMAS Albatross at Nowra in NSW. The Nowra facility is the company’s largest rotary-wing maintenance facility in-country, and was established in 2014 to support the RAN’s fleet of 24 MH-60R Romeo naval combat helicopters.
“We announced to our staff today that we will close the Brisbane operation by the 31st of January, and we are going to consolidate all that business in Nowra,” Lockheed Martin Australia’s Director of business development Rotary and Mission Systems, Neale Prescott told ADBR. “In the past we have worked to co-locate our businesses directly or as close as possible with our military customers.
“We want to very much reinforce to the defence force that the rotary wing business in a military sense is very robust and positive,” he added. “There’s a lot of activity in Australia with the special forces helo, the armed reconnaissance, and subsequently the battlefield lift replacement.
“But those are future opportunities, here we’ll move everything into the MH-60R facility which has been running for just over five years, and what we’ll be doing is making clear plans for looking for opportunities for the workforce.”
The company says it will support its Brisbane workforce of 103 personnel through the consolidation process, including offering the option of redeployment to other Sikorsky and LMA facilities in Australia. The Brisbane facility currently provides maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) support to commercial S-92 and S-76 operators, and had performed MRO work for a couple of undisclosed foreign military customers.
Apart from the expanded operation at Nowra, the company will continue to maintain small maintenance workforces of 19 personnel at Townsville and 30 personnel at Holsworthy to support Army Black Hawk operations until that aircraft’s planned withdrawal in 2022/23, as well as two staff at Perth to support S-92 and S-76 commercial and resource operations in the west.
The Nowra facility currently has 140 staff, and was designed with sufficient hangar and office space from the outset to be able to absorb additional future work and personnel.
It is unclear how much of the work from the Brisbane facility nor what proportion of the workforce will be redeployed to Nowra. “For each of those clients, we have notified them, and we’ll work with each of them to ensure we fulfil each of their contracts and what location we need to do that to conclude those contracts,” Prescott said.
Lockheed Martin Australia interim chief executive, Scott Thompson said the company’s diverse programs form a critical backbone for Australia’s current and future defence capabilities. This includes “Rotary Wing Systems and sustainment, next generation pilot training, combat systems integration and surveillance across air, sea, land and space domains.
“We have significant opportunities for growth across all of our Australian business and we will continue to deliver exceptional program performance and leading innovation for Australia.”