Australian precision engineering company Marand held a ceremony on Monday unveiling the first Australian made F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter vertical tail it has produced under its contract with BAE Systems.
722 ship sets are anticipated under the work on the F-35 vertical tails subcontracted to Marand by BAE Systems. It is also considered as one of the largest planned manufacturing projects for the F-35 in Australia.
“This is a major step for Marand to move into the field of aerostructures manufacturing. I am very proud of our team for achieving so much in such a short time with tremendous support from BAE Systems,” said David Ellul, managing director of Marand.
“The unique capability we have established will serve the Australian Defence industry and create high technology Australian jobs for many years to come.”
The F-35 Lighting II aircraft will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and provides significant benefits to the Australian aerospace industry, with more than $350M (USD) already contracted and $6B (USD) in expected manufacturing orders over the life of the program.
“We take our commitment to international participation very seriously, and today is a very proud day for us, for Marand, and for Australia’s F-35 programme. In just two years, we have worked side by side with Marand to develop a world class aerostructure facility with a first-rate, repeatable capability for the next 20 to 30 years,” said Cliff Robson, senior vice president F-35 for BAE Systems on Monday.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Corporation vice-president, Aeronautics, Orlando Carvalho said the F-35 is not only transforming the battlefield but also the global aerospace industry.
“This programme is built on a foundation of unprecedented partnerships that not only tie our countries together, but also link our companies with one another. There’s really no better example of the true global nature of this programme than right here at Marand,” he said.
The Honourable Dr. Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria and The Honourable Michael Ronaldson, Senator for Victoria representing the Defence Minister were among the distinguished guests in attendance at the ceremony.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35A Lightning II full-scale mock-up was also on display in the Marand facility car park.