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Defence Global Competitiveness Grant to benefit Aussie F-35 supplier

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced Melbourne-based RUAG Australia has become the latest recipient of the government’s Defence Global Competitiveness Grants to support the company’s competitiveness in the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet supply chain.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price has announced Melbourne-based RUAG Australia has become the latest recipient of the government’s Defence Global Competitiveness Grants to support the company’s competitiveness in the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet supply chain.

RUAG Australia will use their $150,000 grant to digitise manufacturing planning and scheduling functions, expanding RUAG’s capacity to export aerospace components.

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The Defence Global Competitiveness Grants are designed to help Australian businesses invest in projects that build their defence export capability.

A grant of $15,000 to $150,000 for up to half the cost of investing in projects that build export capability to create a stronger, more sustainable and globally competitive Australian defence industry.

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said, “This program is part of the Morrison government’s commitment to build a stronger and globally competitive Australian defence industry.”

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The maximum grant period is 18 months.

“Over 26 Australian small businesses have benefited from an investment worth over $3.4 million through this grants program so far,” Minister Price added.

In order to be eligible for the government’s Defence Global Competitiveness Grant, companies must be a small-to-medium sized businesses with an Australian business number (ABN).

The business must be either:

  • a company incorporated in Australia; and
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust.

Successful companies will need to match the grant amount dollar for dollar.

Project activities can include:

  • buying, leasing, constructing, installing or commissioning of capital equipment including specialist software to enhance cyber security;
  • design, engineering and commissioning activities; and
  • workforce training and accreditations.

The Defence export strategy defines Australian defence exports as "any defence-specific or dual-use goods or services exported by Australian defence industry, including as part of a supply chain, that are intended for a defence or national security end-user".

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 Royal Australian Air Force 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.

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.

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 RAAF since 1985.

Defence Global Competitiveness Grant to benefit Aussie F-35 supplier
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