Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price and NSW senator Jim Molan, AO, DSC, have joined Queanbeyan-based Lintek’s cutting-edge manufacturing system that doubles the production capacity of its printed circuit boards, which positions it for further success in the global F-35 program.
Queanbeyan-based Lintek produces circuit boards for phased array radar and electronic warfare systems, which forms part of the F-35 program.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, and senator for NSW Jim Molan, AO, DSC, joined Lintek at its Queanbeyan site to announce the new capability.
Minister Price said Lintek’s enhanced capacity had increased its likelihood of winning further contracts in the F-35 global supply chain, and creating more jobs.
"This development is a terrific example of Australian defence industry’s ingenuity and commitment to enhancing our local aerospace manufacturing capability. The government is investing $200 billion in Australian defence industry, creating new jobs and delivering more opportunities for small business to export their capabilities overseas," Minister Price said.
"So far, 50 Australian companies have shared in almost $1.7 billion in the production of the F-35 program, employing over 2,400 Australian workers."
Senator Molan said Lintek employs about 50 people at their manufacturing plant, and their potential for growth was an exciting opportunity for local workers.
"Lintek is a prime example of a small business benefiting from Australia’s involvement in the global F-35 program. It’s great to see advanced manufacturing growing and creating jobs in Queanbeyan,” Senator Molan said.
The government is on track to deliver more than 5,000 jobs in the F-35 program by 2023.
Over the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program – which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the Royal Australian Air Force since 1985.
The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is billed as a catalyst for the fifth-generation revolution, changing the face and capability of the RAAF and the wider Australian Defence Force.
For the RAAF, the F-35A's combination of full-spectrum low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – means the aircraft will be the ultimate force multiplying, air-combat platform.
The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have with a projected life of 30 years in service.
Ten nations are currently flying F-35s, including the US, UK, Italy, Norway, Israel and Japan. The first of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are now based on home soil after a period of training and development at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, plus an epic Pacific Ocean crossing in December 2018.
More than 340 F-35s are operating today with partner nations, more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 170,000 cumulative flight hours.