news Security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has revealed that it is to set up a multi-disciplinary research and development facility in Melbourne.
To be called the Science Technology Engineering Leadership and Research Laboratory (STELaR Lab), Lockheed Martin will spend an initial $13 million over three years on the project.
The facility – to be situated in Melbourne’s growing technology district between University of Melbourne and RMIT – is aimed to “undertake R&D to solve the technology challenges of the future, and work in the art of the possible”, the firm said.
The first multi-disciplinary facility to be established by Lockheed Martin outside of the US, STELaR Lab will act as the firm’s R&D operations centre for its research portfolio in Australia, as well as taking on additional internal R&D programmes.
Slated to open in early 2017, STELaR Lab staff will be researching in several fields, including hypersonics, autonomy, robotics and command, and control, as well as communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Lockheed Martin also said that the $13 million investment will create “premium” jobs for science and technology graduates, with STELaR Lab expected to take on over 20 employees within three years.
Announcing the decision in Melbourne this week, Dr Keoki Jackson, CTO at Lockheed Martin, said Melbourne’s “growing international reputation for research” was a key factor in the firm’s choice of location for the R&D centre.
“The decision to establish a multi-disciplinary R&D facility in Australia was partly based on Lockheed Martin’s own track record of research & development success with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group and Australian universities over the last 20 years,” Jackson said.
“Lockheed Martin laboratories operate on the frontline of applied research and development, and have been responsible for many advanced technology breakthroughs. It is our vision that STELaR Lab will add to that unparalleled legacy of technological excellence, and contribute to the advancement of human knowledge,” he said.
Raydon Gates AO, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia New Zealand added that the STELaR Lab would bring deeper collaboration with partners and customers.
“The establishment of STELaR Lab further reinforces our position as an industry leader in defence and technology, and we are proud of our ability to bring best practice and leading edge concepts to Australia to support growth and innovation,” he said.
The STELaR Lab launch event at Engineers Australia, Melbourne, saw the attendance of “notable” members of Australia’s research community and academia, according to Lockheed Martin.
Also present were the Federal Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science, Greg Hunt; the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews; the Victorian Minister for Industry & Employment, Wade Noonan; and Stephen Conroy, Senator for Victoria.