As reported on Defence Connect, Rockwell Collins reached a milestone last week, manufacturing its 100th Optical Assembly for the F-35 electro-optic distributed aperture system (DAS). The system helps provide the world’s JSF jet pilots with 360 degree combat vision.
The NSW Department of Industry has applauded the work of the Sydney-based team, saying the work at the company's Lane Cove West headquarters is a prime example of Australia's defence industry capabilities impacting the global stage.
"Congratulations to Rockwell Collins Australia, which is manufacturing defence technology here in Sydney to give the world’s Joint Strike Fighter pilots 360 degree vision from their cockpits providing full situational awareness in combat situations," said Duncan Challen, executive director of industry development at the NSW Department of Industry.
"The optical assemblies are a key component of the Joint Strike Fighter’s electro-optical distributed aperture system, which is an infrared system that can track aircraft and missiles in all directions and provide vision for day and night navigation.
"This is a great example of NSW and Australia’s world-class defence industry competing successfully in global supply chains."
Rockwell Collins Australia has a long-term agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to produce up to 40 per cent of the world’s optical assemblies for the JSFs. As many as 3,000 JSFs could be produced worldwide and Australia is set to acquire 72 of them over the next decade, with potential for a fourth Australian squadron that would bring the number to 100.
Rockwell Collins Australia is supporting about 70 full-time staff at its Australian headquarters in Lane Cove West, which provides its technical support base for repair, overhaul and equipment modifications.
Rockwell Collins Australia managing director Nick Gibbs said, "It is fantastic to be contributing to a globally significant project like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will underpin the defence capabilities of so many international air forces including our own. It is a tremendous feather in our cap and an endorsement of all the support we have received from the federal government and NSW government so far."