The Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Program
Air Marshal Leon Phillips OAM
Chief Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance
As an engineer and program manager, Air Marshal Phillips has over 36 years of extensive experience across Defence, with a proven reputation for establishing highly effective teams to deliver complex aerospace projects and manage their in-service support. In May 2023, on promotion to Air Marshal, he was appointed the inaugural Chief to head the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Group.
His junior appointments spanned a range of materiel support, engineering and staff roles supporting the F-111, Classic Hornet and Headquarters Northern Command. In 2008, Air Marshal Phillips was posted to the Airborne Early Warning and Control Program as Engineering Manager in Seattle USA, culminating in him accepting
the first two E-7 Wedgetail aircraft. Promoted to Group Captain in 2012, he was appointed as the Project Director responsible for the $8 billion portfolio of Maritime Surveillance projects, where he guided the Air Force’s P-8A acquisition through Government approval and established the initial procurements. Air Marshal Phillips was then appointed as Officer Commanding, Surveillance and Control Systems Program Office, responsible for the acquisition and sustainment of assigned airspace surveillance, control, and communications systems for the Australian Defence Force.
In 2017 he was promoted to Air Commodore and given responsibility for the acquisition and sustainment of Air Force’s maritime patrol, airborne surveillance and aircrew training capabilities as well as fleetwide-enabling aerospace materiel. In 2019, Air Marshal Phillips joined the Chief Information Officer Group and was responsible for connecting Defence Groups and Services with ICT solutions, and subsequently involved in integrating major weapon systems into the strategic ICT network. In 2022, he was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and appointed as the Head of Aerospace Systems Division within Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, responsible for the materiel acquisition and sustainment for all of Air Force’s airborne air combat, surveillance and air mobility capabilities.
Air Marshal Phillips has a degree in Electronic Engineering, Masters in Project Management and an Executive Masters in Business. He is also a Master Project Director with the Australian Institute of Project Management and a Fellow of Engineers Australia. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2018 for his work in complex acquisition projects and for mentoring staff.
Air Marshal Phillips is married to his best friend and mentor Air Commodore (retired) Angie Castner, and has four adult children. His interests include a lifelong obsession with field hockey, having played in Australia’s National Hockey League and competing for Australia at the Masters level. In his spare time he also enjoys cycling and cooking.