Chemring Australia and Quickstep Holdings Ltd have secured funding for product development and cost reduction initiatives for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) countermeasure flares.
Chemring Australia, a leading pyrotechnic and countermeasures developer, manufacturer and supplier, has announced it will expand its highly advanced Lara facility in Victoria to design, test and manufacture F-35 countermeasures.
Quickstep, the largest independent aerospace-grade advanced composite manufacturer in Australia, will develop and commission new advanced manufacturing technology at its facility in Bankstown, New South Wales, to supply countermeasure housings to Chemring.
Christopher Pyne, the Minister for Defence Industry, said this funding showed Australia’s defence industry continued to play a vital role in Air Force’s fifth-generation capability transformation.
“Chemring and Quickstep are excellent examples of leading-edge Australian companies succeeding in winning work in international supply chains,” Minister Pyne said.
“This initiative will position Australian industry to take advantage of emerging opportunities to supply countermeasures to the burgeoning F-35 market and beyond.
“Chemring and Quickstep have both invested heavily in this initiative and have also received funding from the US F-35 Joint Program Office.”
The New Air Combat Capability – Industry Support Program, administered by the Department of Defence, also granted $1 million to Quickstep.
Minister Pyne said more than 50 Australian companies had directly shared in more than $1 billion in global F-35 production contracts to date, and small and unique Australian businesses had the opportunity to benefit indirectly through supply chain work.
“Further opportunities are expected for Australian companies to increase production contract values over the next four years as F-35 production rates continue to increase,” Minister Pyne said.
Australian industry involvement in F-35 production is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2023.
“The US Government has invested in Chemring and Quickstep to revolutionise the processing of flares and reduce cost,” Minister Pyne said.
The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 72 JSF aircraft to replace the ageing F/A-18A/B Hornet fleet.
The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said Air Force had six F-35A aircraft operating in the US at the international Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with delivery of four more aircraft planned before the end of the year.
“The first two F-35A aircraft to be permanently based in Australia are scheduled to arrive at RAAF Base Williamtown in December 2018,” Minister Payne said.
Chemring is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of military-grade energetic materials and products to the defence and safety markets.
Quickstep is already a key supplier into the global F-35 Program, supplying 40 per cent of the materiel to Marand Precision Engineering to produce each F-35 Conventional Take-Off and Landing Vertical Tail. Marand recently delivered its 50th Vertical Tail to the F-35 Program, all to schedule and with no customer quality issues.