A Victorian company has further cemented itself as a leading supplier to the F-35 program, opening an F-35A Lightning II Vertical Tail manufacturing facility.
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Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne opened the new Marand Precision Engineering facility in Moorabbin, which is supported by a Department of Defence New Air Combat Capability Industry Support Program grant.
Minister Pyne said Marand, which recently finalised its expansion program to implement a fully integrated F-35A Vertical Tail manufacturing capability in Australia, will create an additional 44 full-time positions for Marand Precision Engineering, with flow on effects across the supply chain.
"Marand is now an established supplier of F-35A Vertical Tails, with Australian-produced tails on the aircraft of several F-35 partner nations," Minister Pyne said.
"Expected to generate a total of more than $1 billion in revenue over 20 years, Marand is a great example of the success Australian industry is experiencing through the global F-35 Program."
By December 2016, Marand had received one-third of the Australian contracts in the F-35 program. Marand currently employ around 240 people across Australia, 180 of whom are located at the Moorabbin site, and 33 in the Vertical Tail Team.
Marand’s implementation of a fully integrated F-35A Vertical Tail manufacturing capability culminated in the installation of a precision milling machine, which is used to machine products to meet strict quality and capability requirements.
Marand signed a long-term agreement with BAE Systems UK in 2011 for the manufacture of Vertical Tails for the international conventional take-off and landing variant of the F-35.
In August 2017, the third Australian F-35A aircraft received its Australian-made, Marand-produced Vertical Tail as production of the aircraft neared completion.
Marand is not the only Victorian company to benefit from the F-35 program; Lovitt, Cablex, AW Bell, RUAG and BAE Systems Australia, which has offices in both Victoria and South Australia, are also key contributors to the program.