Australian Defence scientist Paul Marsden has been awarded the US Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service as part of his ongoing support for the global F-35 project.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne congratulated Marsden on being receiving the highest award of the US Office of the Secretary of Defense for a non-US civilian.
Marsden has been recognised by the US Secretary for Defense for developing software estimated to save more than US$33 million over the life of the F‑35 program.
"This data conversion software means the Joint Strike Fighter program will save on recurring costs by no longer relying on the original equipment manufacturer to interpret the data," Minister Pyne said.
The F-35 Joint Program Office will also use the converted data to support maintenance issues that require urgent attention, making further savings in indirect costs.
Minister Pyne said, "Paul is the third Australian Defence scientist to receive this prestigious award in the last four years, which is a great indicator of Aussie ingenuity and the calibre of personnel going to the United States for postings."
Australia is spending about $17 billion to buy 72 fighters of the F-35A variant, with the aircraft due to reach IOC by December 2020. Australia’s first F-35As are currently operating at the international Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are scheduled to arrive for permanent basing at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle in December this year.