BAE Systems Australia and Rosebank Engineering will build two new facilities in South Australia after winning a $177 million contract to manufacture tail fins for the US government’s Joint Strike Fighter defence aircraft.
The duo will use SA government funding to build the two new advanced titanium aerospace component manufacture and processing capabilities at Edinburgh Parks.
BAE Systems Australia will build Australia’s largest advanced aerospace components factory, which will produce long, thin titanium parts for the Joint Strike Fighter Vertical Tail Fin.
Though the company has been making the parts at an existing Edinburgh Parks site since July last year, government funding will allow it to upgrade the plant for raised output.
At full rate production, the new site will be able to deliver 70 aircraft sets per annum, with over 30 parts in each set.
Each part, which consists of highly complex shapes and fine tolerance, requires five axis machining, which can range from one to 50 hours per component.
The parts will be treated at a new metal finishing plant to be built by Rosebank Engineering.
According to SA Premier Jay Weatherill, who visited Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter factory in Fort Worth, Texas yesterday, the vertical tail fins are a major structural element of the aircraft, turning it during flight.
BAE Systems Australia and Rosebank Engineering reportedly won the contract, which is worth approximately $177 million, over the United Kingdom.
The $600 billion Joint Strike Fighter project will produce more than 3,000 aircraft over the next 25 years for the United States and its allies.
“Defence will form the foundation of South Australia’s advanced manufacturing future and provide highly-skilled jobs,” said Weatherill.
“Already we have a strong reputation both nationally and globally for our expertise in defence manufacturing.
“These new capabilities open up a raft of opportunities in other aerospace, commercial and defence projects.”
Defence Industries Minister Jack Snelling said Rosebank Engineering’s high-precision, advanced machining facility will be a major boost to SA’s defence manufacturing industry.
“Rosebank’s facility will be capable of supporting large JSF parts at full rate production,” said Snelling.
“This combined capability does not currently exist in Australia. Its establishment in Adelaide will drive long term growth and job security in South Australia.”