Minister for Defence and Minister for Veterans' Affairs - Delivery of the first Australian made F-35 JSF vertical tail

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Senator the Hon David Johnston

Minister for Defence

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31 March 2014

Australian precision engineering company Marand has manufactured the first Australian made vertical tail for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (JSF).

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Senator Michael Ronaldson, representing the Minister for Defence Senator David Johnston, attended an event today at Marand’s Moorabbin premises marking the milestone.

Speaking from Perth, Defence Minister David Johnston, praised the involvement of Marand, a wholly-owned Australian company, in the production of the world’s most advanced war plane.

“This truly is a great success story for our aero-space industry here in Victoria,” Senator Johnston said.

“The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with genuine 5th Generation capability and ensure it retains a regional leading edge air combat readiness.” .

Senator Ronaldson said the milestone reflected positively on Australian industry know-how and ingenuity more generally.

“Melbourne-based Marand and its supply chain are commencing production of up to 722 sets of vertical tails for the F-35, which will be fitted to the F-35s of United States and other F-35 partner nations.

“The manufacture and delivery of the vertical tails is expected to generate around $1 billion of revenue and employ 200 staff at Marand through the life of the program.

“With the commitment and support of Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney, a steady F-35 production ramp up, a continuing favourable Australian dollar and a ‘sharp pencil’ by Australian industry, I expect Australian industry do very well on the F-35 program over many years.”

Senator Ronaldson said there were several other significant opportunities for Australian industry, including making composite panels for the fuselage of the F-35, weapons carriers, decoy flares, and other components.

“Some 30 Australian companies have been directly involved in the F-35 program to date, and more than $355 million in production orders have been won with only 2-3 per cent of aircraft production completed to date,” he said.

The Government expects that Australia’s commitment to purchase any further aircraft will be reciprocated by a commitment from Lockheed Martin to increase these large opportunities for Australian Industry.

“Given the stability of the F-35 program, the Australian Government expects Lockheed Martin to enter into long-term contracts with Australian Industry including Marand, to provide further certainty for Australian industry and to allow future cost reductions,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Australia’s first two JSF aircraft are on the production line and are due to be delivered in the second half of 2014.

Following a period of acceptance activities, pilot training will begin in the United States.

From 2018 the Australian Defence Force will commence ferry flights of JSF aircraft to Australia.

Media contacts:
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston's Office) 0477 389 560
Brad Rowswell (Minister Ronaldson’s Office) 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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