Defence Minister Christopher Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Steve Ciobo have kicked off a big second day at Avalon 2019, with a series of major announcements set to reshape Australia’s defence industry and airpower capabilities.
Day two of Avalon has seen the government continue its investment focus on developing Australia's position as a competitive, productive and advanced defence industrial powerhouse, with Minister Pyne and Minister Ciobo making a series of major announcements, including key wins for Australian industry, such as:
Defence has committed to expand research activities with global prime Northrop Grumman:
Defence, Science and Technology Group and Northrop Grumman Australia have committed to continued collaboration and partnerships to support the implementation of the 2016 Defence White Paper and the government's key industry development objectives.
Ministers Pyne and Ciobo welcomed the announcement of continued collaboration, with Minister Pyne saying, "The alliance will enhance the partnership between the two organisations with the addition of key research such as space, autonomous systems and cyber security."
As part of the agreement, Defence will leverage the experience of Northrop Grumman in secure communications, space capabilities and unmanned systems, like the MQ-4C Triton.
Another win for EOS remote weapons stations:
Australian-based EOS, in partnership with Elbit Systems, has developed a turret mounting a 30mm cannon, a 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun and two anti-armour missiles under armoured protection.
Minister Pyne said this latest development and successful collaboration is an example of Australia's growing defence industry capabilities: "EOS is a fantastic Australian success story, producing advanced remote weapons systems and sensors for export and use by the ADF and our friends and allies."
The turret is set to be initially produced in Canberra, commencing in late-2019 and sustaining 10 jobs, while a permanent home for turret construction is currently being located, with options including Queensland and South Australia.
Australian industry continues to benefit from participating in the global F-35 program:
In yet another win for Australian industry, ministers Pyne and Ciobo announced the construction of a $24 million Engine Test Cell upgrade facility at RAAF Base Amberley. TAE Aerospace will benefit from the contract, with Minister Pyne saying, "Defence contracted TAE Aerospace, a 100 per cent Australian owned company, who has now taken possession of the site and commenced work on the upgraded facility, which will be able to cope with the increased thrust of the new F135 engine."
Minister Ciobo congratulated TAE Aerospace, saying, "This is a terrific example of the strength of Australia's defence industry, which has already won over $1.3 billion in production contracts as part of the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program."
RUAG Australia also reached a major milestone in its participation in the global F-35 program, following the delivery of the company's 35,000th component part for the F-35.
Minister Pyne said, "RUAG Australia is the sole global source of the F-35 program uplock actuator system and, in achieving this milestone, has confirmed its precision manufacturing and process solutions capabilities."
These announcements also saw Lockheed Martin Australia and the Commonwealth sign heads of agreement sovereign sustainment contracts to ensure the effective, long-term sustainment of the RAAF's F-35 capability.
Minister Pyne said the agreement provides improved certainty and clarity to Australia, by pre-agreeing the intellectual property, technical data and software contract provisions with Lockheed Martin Australia and the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
"This creates an environment where Defence – should it decide to enter into new contracts with different companies for various services such as training – will be able to seek the intellectual property, technical data and software it needs through the United States F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin," Minister Pyne said.
Minister Ciobo added, "The heads of agreement will minimise the time and effort taken by the Australian government and Lockheed Martin in establishing any Australian sovereign sustainment contracts with local industry."
TAE Aerospace sets sights on US expansion:
In another win for Queensland-based TAE Aerospace, ministers Pyne and Ciobo congratulated the Australian company on becoming the world's largest TPE331 turboprop engine maintenance provider following the completion of two acquisitions in the US.
"The expansion of TAE Aerospace in the US is a direct demonstration that the government's defence investment and defence industry policy are having a positive effect," Minister Pyne said.
Following the acquisitions, TAE Aerospace will employ around 320 people, working in Brisbane, Adelaide, Williamtown and Melbourne in Australia, and Phoenix, Kansas City, San Antonio and Anchorage in the US.
Minister Ciobo reinforced the comments made by Minister Pyne saying the expansion was a significant strategic move for an Australian-owned business, which will result in increased defence export opportunities for the company.