Hunter defence industry reaps benefits of F-35 program

Department of Defence

Australia’s defence industry will deliver an extra $140 million in maintenance and supply-chain support for the Royal Australian Air Force’s fifth-generation F-35A Lightning II fighter.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said Australia’s participation in the global F-35 program continued to deliver significant benefits to the Hunter region and the broader national economy.

Minister Price said the Morrison Government had increased funding to the F-35A Industry Support Program by $60 million.

The Government has also signed an $80 million, five-year contract with BAE Systems Australia for the ongoing support of Australian F-35A operations.

“This contract with BAE will establish sovereign maintenance and supply-chain support to the Royal Australian Air Force F-35A fleet located at RAAF Bases Williamtown in the Hunter region, and Tindal in the Northern Territory,” Minister Price said.

“It will also result in the employment of 46 BAE Systems Australia staff in the Hunter region who will provide direct, on-the-ground support to the Royal Australian Air Force fleet.”

Minister Price said the Government was determined to give more small and medium businesses the opportunity to contribute to the F-35 Program.

“The $60 million increase in funding for the Joint Strike Fighter Industry Support Program will allow Australian companies to develop new and improved capabilities to strengthen their chances of securing contracts in the global F-35 Program,” Minister Price said.

“Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to back our Australian defence industry.

“This increased funding illustrates our commitment to building a world-leading sovereign defence industry, with this figure set to grow as more jets are produced and our Australian-based fleet continues to grow.

“Australia’s participation in the global F-35 Program has significantly benefited Australian industry, with Australian companies already sharing in more than $3 billion in contracts.”

Australian businesses looking to access this funding are encouraged to review the Joint Strike Fighter Industry Support Program Guidelines and explore opportunities to contribute to this critically important defence capability.

Defence will acquire 72 F-35A Lighting II aircraft to replace the Classic Hornet fleet. To date, 45 jets have been accepted by Australia and the full fleet is on track to be delivered by the end of 2023.

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