Australian manufacturers in pilot seat to build 3,000 fighter planes

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Australian manufacturers could be put to work as part of plans to build thousands of F-35 fighter planes globally.

 The Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) has teamed up with the federal defence department to enhance domestic capabilities to support the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF).

The DMTC is “a key partner” for the new Defence Innovation Hub, which was launched last year and will invest around $640 million over the decade in defence innovation development.

Read: Defence manufacturing will grow Australian economy, says Pyne

Minister Christopher Pyne has confirmed more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft are planned for production  over the next 25 years and predicts many opportunities for Australian industry to compete for work.

“There are opportunities for companies to participate in both the production of new aircraft, and the regional allocations of sustainment work for in-service fleets,” Pyne said.

“Indeed, there are already many success stories in relation to Australian industry making its mark in the production phase with more than 30 companies successfully partaking in $800 million of work so far.

 “These complex military platforms are providing opportunities for Australia’s smartest minds to contribute to the global ‘learning curve’ and to technology development.”

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The DMTC will take proposals from industry and research organisations and work with the defence department to identify industry capabilities and innovation opportunities that will be targeted for further development.

 “Some of the potential opportunities for development that have been identified to date include additive manufacturing, titanium machining, structural health monitoring, corrosion monitoring and control and composite repair,” Pyne said.

 “The Defence Innovation Hub, together with the Next Generation Technologies Fund and the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, deliver on the Government’s $1.6 billion commitment to grow Australia’s industry and innovation sector.”

 DMTC’s call for expressions of interest from prospective industry and research partners are open until April 13.