A ceremony was held March 31 at Australian company Marand in Melbourne, Australia, commemorating the delivery of the first ship of Australian made F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter vertical tails.
The Honorable Dr. Denis Napthine, Premier of Victoria, and The Honorable Michael Ronaldson, Senator for Victoria representing the Defence Minister, were among the distinguished guests in attendance.
This delivery of the first major air frame components marks an important production milestone for Marand, BAE Systems and Australia, demonstrating the significant industrial benefits the F-35 program brings to the growing Australian aerospace industry. The work on the F-35 vertical tails is subcontracted to Marand by BAE Systems and is one of the largest planned manufacturing projects for the F-35 in Australia, with 722 ship sets anticipated.
We take our commitment to international participation very seriously, and today is a very proud day for us, for Marand, and for Australias F-35 program. In just two years, we have worked side by side with Marand to develop a world class aerostructure facility with a first-rate, repeatable capability for the next 20 to 30 years, said Cliff Robson, senior vice president F-35 for BAE Systems.
David Ellul, managing director of Marand, commented, This is a major step for Marand to move into the field of aerostructures manufacturing. I am very proud of our team for achieving so much in such a short time with tremendous support from BAE Systems. The unique capability we have established will serve the Australian defense industry and create high technology Australian jobs for many years to come.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and provides significant benefits to the Australian aerospace industry, with more than $350 million (USD) already contracted and $6 billion (USD) in expected manufacturing orders over the life of the program.
The F-35 is not only transforming the battlefield but also the global aerospace industry. This program is built on a foundation of unprecedented partnerships that tie our countries together and link our companies with one another. Theres really no better example of the true global nature of this program than right here at Marand, said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.