This week I will travel to the United States to fight for more work in the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to deliver more Australian jobs and opportunities for small businesses in the defence supply chain.
The visit will also provide a first-hand account of the impressive footprint Australian businesses are making in the US.
While in the US I will meet with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Hon Ellen M. Lord to discuss current and future Australian industry involvement in F-35 production.
At the meeting I will advocate for further industrial base integration by highlighting what Australian defence industry has to offer to new and existing programs, like the F-35 and Triton.
The F-35 Program will deliver fifth generation air capability for Australia, with more than 50 Australian businesses supplying parts fitted to every Joint Strike Fighter globally. By 2023, Australian industry production work will exceed AUD$2 billion and create up to 5000 new jobs.
With additional work being reallocated from Turkish suppliers following Turkey’s suspension from the program, I will highlight Australia’s suitability and capability to perform additional work. This includes advocating for the 11 companies identified by the Department of Defence as having the capability to take on some of the work Turkish suppliers were undertaking in the program.
I will meet with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman representatives to see the integration of Australian manufactured components in US supply chains, and discuss options for more sustainment of current maritime platforms to support operational readiness in the region.
As a key part of my visit I will also hold a roundtable for Australian businesses to share their experiences of working in the US, with a focus on understanding barriers to market entry.
My visit supports and contributes to the next 100 years of cooperation between Australia and the US, in which our defence industrial relationship will continue to play a crucial role.