Australia to build Israeli anti-tank weapons in joint venture

August 23, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Christopher Pyne, Minister for Defence Industry has announced the selection of Rafael Advanced Defence System’s SPIKE LR2 as the Anti-Tank Guided Weapon for the Australian Defence Force’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

Mr Jeff Phillips, Managing Director Varley Group; Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence Industry; and Major General (Ret’d) Yoav Har-Even, President and CEO Rafael

The SPIKE LR2 will be delivered by Varley Rafael Australia (VRA Systems), the joint venture between Rafael and the Varley Group.

The announcement was made by Minister Pyne at the official launch of VRA Systems in a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra. Following Minister Pyne’s comments, Mr Jeff Phillips, Managing Director of the Varley Group, and Major General (Ret’d) Yoav Har-Even, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rafael, formally signed the VRA joint venture agreement. They were joined by the Israeli Ambassador to Australia Mark Sofer and guests from the Australian Government, ADF and defence industry.

Mr Phillips said: “The 5th Generation SPIKE LR2 is the first of what we hope will be many opportunities for VRA to deliver Australian sovereign capabilities, drive innovation and jobs, and create export opportunities.”

He noted the significance of the decision for Australian defence industry, “This undertaking will be an Australian first. VRA Systems combines a world leader of defence technology in Rafael, with Australia’s oldest and most respected defence enterprise in Varley. We will now deliver the world’s premier Anti-Tank Guided Weapon for use by the Australian Defence Force.”

General Har-Even noted the decision builds on Rafael’s 20-plus years in the Australian market, and follows a long line of similar partnerships around the world. “Rafael’s strategy is to join with local partners that allow us to establish capability in the local market. We are extremely proud to have established the relationship with Varley, and we look forward to working with them to deliver the SPIKE LR2 system to the Australian Defence Force”.

In addition to the SPIKE LR2, VRA will deliver a range of Rafael products for the Australian market including the TROPHY Active Protection System (APS) for armoured vehicles; the TAMIR Counter-Rocket, Artillery & Missile (CRAM) interceptor for short-range Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD); and the TORBUSTER Torpedo Counter-Measure (TCM) for submarines.

VRA’s inaugural CEO, Mr Jacob Blitman, said: “VRA aims to maximise the proportion of SPIKE LR2 componentry produced in Australia and deliver through-life in service support, making use of our reach-back to Rafael’s research and development network in Israel. We will employ up to 70 Australians in our local facilities with potentially hundreds more across our Australian supply chain. Australian suppliers now have the opportunity to enter Rafael’s global supply chain for the SPIKE family and a range of Rafael products and systems, servicing more than 30 customer nations.”

Minister of Defence Christopher Pyne said Varley Rafael Australia are committed to producing a range of Rafael systems in Australia and will build sovereign capability, drive innovation and jobs, and create export opportunities.

“This partnership between one of Australia’s best defence companies and a global success story like Rafael is another success story for Australian industry,” said Minister Pyne.

“This will bring IP, know-how and advanced manufacturing techniques to Australia to produce capability for use by the ADF with the potential for export to our friends and allies”.

Varley Rafael Australia will create around 70 new jobs here in Australia as Rafael transfers their expertise to Australia.

Rafael is one of Israel’s largest defence companies, with a global footprint and around 7,500 employees in Israel. They manufacture some of the world’s leading weapon systems, including the Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile.

Varley is one of Australia’s oldest and most advanced manufacturing and engineering companies, with a history of delivery for the ADF.

“This venture follows my visit to Israel in July this year where I discussed this important partnership with Rafael’s leadership and participated in the inaugural Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group.”

The Australia-Israel Defence Industry Cooperation Joint Working Group was established to strengthen ties between Australia and Israel, explore defence industry and innovation opportunities, identify export opportunities, and support our industries to cooperate in the development of innovative technologies for shared capability challenges.


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