Victorian company wins $1m defence contract

Victoria’s Lovitt Technologies has won a global contract worth almost $1 million to manufacture wing parts for Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fleet.

The Super Hornet is a combat strike fighter capable of converting quickly from one mission type to the next.

The $980,000 contract comes under Australia's Global Supply Chain (GSC) Program, which was developed to help smaller local manufacturers enter the supply chains of large overseas defence contractors.

Raytheon, Thales, Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin are also involved in the Super Hornet project.

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare said the deal represents Lovitt’s high-level manufacturing capabilities, and is evidence of the success of the GSC program.

"The Global Supply Chain Program continues to provide an avenue for capable Australian companies seeking to win export work with international defence primes,” said Clare.

"The value of export contracts won to date that have been facilitated through the Global Supply Chain Program is now more than $446 million.”

Lovitt , based in Montmorency in Victoria, manufactures high-technology, precision engineering and ancilliary services to the aerospace, defence and general commercial sectors. The company employs around 80 workers in the areas of machining, assembly and testing.

This latest contract is Lovitt’s second win this year through the GSC program; the company was awarded a contract in February to manufacture housing assemblies and fittings for Boeing’s V-22 aircraft.

Lovitt has also supported Boeing Aerostructures Australia on the 737 Airborne Early Warning & Control project.

Boeing Australia & South Pacific president, Ian Thomas, said in February that Boeing is committed to strengthening enduring partnerships with Australian industry.

"Over the past four years, Boeing has facilitated more than US$230 million in contracts for Australian industry,” said Thomas.

Boeing's commitment to Australian suppliers is a boon for the defence industry, with many companies suffering due to the high Australian dollar.

In February, Thales sacked 200 workers from its Bendigo factory, with the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (AMWU) blaming the government's decision to source military utes from a German supplier, instead of supporting Thales' local manufacturing operation. 

In April, industry unions released a whitepaper accusing the government of reneging their promise to provide funding to build the next generation of Australian Defence Force (ADF) submarines on local turf. 

Manufacturers have been looking increasingly to overseas markets to secure contracts, with recent cuts to the government's defence budget making it even more difficult for manufacturers to find work locally.