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More JSF contracts awarded to Australian firms.

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The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Media Release - 20 May 2004

More JSF contracts awarded to Australian firms

Australian industry has won more work on the Joint Strike Fighter program, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced today.

The Ministers said 12 Australian companies had now been awarded work on the decade-long Systems Development and Design phase of the program.

In its third JSF contract, Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering has been contracted by Lockheed Martin to manufacture JSF airframe wing components. This follows agreements last year for a range of specialised JSF airframe machined components. A key to this latest order was the company’s recent investment in increased machine capability.

Lockheed Martin has also expanded the scope of Melbourne-based precision engineering firm Lovitt Technologies Australia’s existing purchase order to include a range of additional structural JSF wing components.

Victorian-based Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd has also been awarded another contract. Its second agreement will embed a senior automation engineer within Lockheed Martin to provide engineering support services to assist with the design and construction of the JSF production fabrication and assembly lines.

Tomago-based Varley Pty Ltd, won its second JSF order when it was contracted by Northrop Grumman to design, build and test JSF aircraft maintenance slings. Varley believes its bid was successful because it offered an innovative design solution enabling Northrop Grumman to streamline its processes to meet delivery deadlines.

Northrop Grumman has contracted Adelaide-based Vipac Engineers & Scientists Ltd to provide specialist engineering support into Northrop’s El Segundo facility in California over the next 12 months.

In further positive developments, Northrop Grumman recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hawker de Havilland (HdH) undertaking to jointly identify opportunities for HdH to produce composite parts or other sub-assemblies for the JSF.

Melbourne-based GKN Aerospace Engineering’s involvement in the JSF Program continues to grow. From the original thirty GKN engineers working on the Program in June 2003, GKN currently has thirteen engineers in NG's plant in El Segundo, California, working on the design of JSF centre fuselage structural parts, and some sixty-five in Australia. Prospects are good for this to increase to

about 100 by the end of 2004.

Senator Hill and Mr Macfarlane said this additional work further demonstrated the Australian Government’s early commitment to the JSF program was paying dividends to industry. They congratulated all 12 companies on their success in the program to date.

“The Government’s decision in 2002 to participate in the SDD phase of the program has enabled Australian industry to start bidding for JSF work up to five years ahead of signing a contract for aircraft acquisition and almost 10 years before operating them,” the Ministers said.

“Two years later, Australian industry is increasingly engaged in the program and developing relationships with the JSF prime contractors that will potentially provide opportunities for future work, particularly in the higher technology areas.”