In a major win for the nation’s defence industry, Australia has been chosen to provide Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade for the componentry of the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia Pacific Region worth approximately $100 million to our economy, creating and sustaining hundreds if not thousands of jobs.
The successful announcement comes after a trip to Washington DC by the Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, who met with key Pentagon officials to push Australia’s case.
The Turnbull Government has made defence industry a major part of its economic plan, with announcements such as this one further illustrating its critical role in growing high skilled, advanced manufacturing jobs.
Mr Pyne welcomed the United States Government announcement that Australia is one of just four countries which will be a regional hub for the maintenance of the Joint Strike Fighter as a red letter day for Australia’s defence industry.
“This will be a real boon for Australia and proves, yet again, that our defence industry can equal, and in fact beat the best in the world when it comes to advanced manufacturing,” Mr Pyne said.
“While contracts need to be finalised, it is estimated that this initial work will be worth between $80 and $100 million AUD in today’s dollars and will create and sustain hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian jobs.
“This announcement today represents just 8 per cent of the total sustainment work that the US Government will allocate over the next few years.
“It also comes after my recent trip to Washington where I advocated on behalf of Australian defence industry for this important work to be done in Australia”.
“It is clear that Australia will be in prime position to further expand as a regional maintenance hub and build on our local capability.
“What this means is that Australian industry will be responsible for the deep maintenance of components of the Joint Strike Fighter.
“While countries operating the Joint Strike Fighter will look after the basic maintenance – like changing the tyres on a car – Australia will be responsible for much deeper, complex and high value repair of the jets, similar to changing the timing belt or overhauling the engine.” Mr Pyne said.
Partner countries in the JSF program were asked to bid in eleven component categories, Australia, remarkably, was successful in ten.
The Joint Strike Fighter programme has been lucrative for Australia to date, with Australian industry already achieving more than $800 million in contracts from F-35 design and production work.
Today’s announcement is the next step in opportunities opening up a market for aircraft component repair which will be part of the F-35 Global Support supply chain and cements Australia as a key strategic partner in the global F-35 enterprise.
Australian industry has further opportunities available in the F-35 Program with two additional F-35 Requests for Information recently issued to Australian companies for non-air vehicle Deeper Level Repair components and regional warehousing.