New VIC plant to manufacture F-35 jet tails

F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Defence contractor Marand Precision Engineering has opened a new facility in Moorabbin, Victoria, dedicated to the manufacture of vertical tails for the F-35 Lighting II program.

The expansion, which was signed off by Defence Industry minister Christopher Pyne, will create an additional 44 full-time positions at the company, thanks to support from the Department of Defence New Air Combat Capability Industry Support Program.

Marand signed a long-term agreement with BAE Systems UK in 2011 for the manufacture of Vertical Tails for the international Conventional Take-Off and Landing variant of the F-35.

By December 2016, Marand had received one third of the Australian contracts in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and seeking further growth.

“Marand is now an established supplier of F-35A Vertical Tails, with Australian-produced tails on the aircraft of several F-35 Partner Nations,” Pyne said

“Expected to generate a total of more than $1 billion in revenue over 20 years, Marand is a great example of the success Australian industry is experiencing through the global F-35 Program.”

The company currently employs around 240 people across Australia – 180 of whom are located at the Moorabbin site, and 33 in the Vertical Tail Team.

Marand’s implementation of a fully integrated F-35A Vertical Tail manufacturing capability culminated in the installation of a Precision Milling Machine used measure precisely machine products to meet strict quality and capability requirements.

In August last year, the third Australian F-35A aircraft received its Australian-made, Marand-produced Vertical Tail as production of the aircraft neared completion.