The importance of titanium technology to the future of Australia’s aerospace industry was highlighted earlier this week at the opening of “Titanium Tuesday”, part of the International Light Metals Technology Conference being held on the Gold Coast.
Because it is lighter and stronger than most metals, titanium is being used more and more by aerospace manufacturers for aircraft production, including in new combat aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)—the world’s largest collaborative defence project.
In addition to its lightweight strength, titanium resists corrosion and withstands high temperatures.
Mike Lyons, who opened Titanium Tuesday on behalf of JSF Team Australia, said Australian industry has the opportunity to manufacture titanium parts for the total JSF production run – significantly more than 3000 aircraft.
JSF Team Australia represents government and industry working together on the JSF Project, with the aim to maximise Australian industry engagement in the vast global JSF supply chain.
“Australian companies and research agencies have the opportunity to participate in the development of new manufacturing techniques to reduce titanium machining costs.
“Current procedures involve machining components from a solid titanium block which results in significant wastage,” said Lyons.
The international Light Metals Technology Conference is a key part of an initiative by Defence’s New Air Combat Capability (NACC) Project, to position Australian industry and research organisations to engage in advanced technologies and leading edge collaborative projects over the life of the JSF Program.
Australia possesses around 40% of the world’s known titanium resources and supplies about 25% of the international commercial market.
There is potential for Australia to become a global supplier of titanium and titanium components for the aerospace industry and other programs; commercial aircraft production will require significantly more titanium.