Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly today met with a number of Defence companies and received briefings on state of the art aviation technology and future Defence projects during his visit to the Australian International Airshow and Defence Exposition at Avalon in Victoria.
“Australia has a strong and highly capable Defence aviation industry. Australian companies are world class with a number winning international contracts to support some of the most sophisticated aircraft ever built,” Dr Kelly said.
Dr Kelly also used the visit to reflect on the key achievements made by both Defence and industry since the last Australian International Airshow and Defence Exposition held in 2011.
“Australia’s aviation capability continues to improve as a number of new aircraft are introduced in the coming years to complement our existing fleets,” Dr Kelly said.
“The Air Force now has a full squadron of Super Hornets and the Government has approved the acquisition of the Growler electronic attack capability.”
“The flexibility of our C-17 and helicopter fleets was highlighted again with the recent natural disasters around Australia. The evacuation of the Cairns Hospital in two hours reinforced the correct decision to purchase the C-17 planes,” Dr Kelly said.
Dr Kelly said the $3.2 billion MH-60R Seahawk Romeo program is progressing well with the first two Australian aircraft now moving down the Romeo production line in America.
“The first Australian Navy crews commenced their Romeo training this month (February) and we remain on track to accept our first two Romeos on schedule in early 2014,” he said.
Dr Kelly met with key members of the F-35 program. Australia’s first two F-35As are expected to be delivered in the US in 2014.
Dr Kelly also met with high school students from around the country who are attending the Airshow to compete in the F1 in Schools National Championships. Dr Kelly met with students from Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide who last year won the F1 in Schools World Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Imagery is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/12132851
Dr Kelly's Office: Robbie Rynehart (02) 6277 7730 or 0459 810 654
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999