Defence industry news briefs – stories you might have missed


F-35A Lightning joint strike fighter achieves operational status

Initial Operational Capability (IOC) has been declared for for Australia’s F-35A joint strike fighter fleet. Built by Lockheed Martin, the aircraft will play a crucial role in national security. The F-35 programme was a catalyst for evolving the capabilities of numerous SME manufacturers whch are now part of global supply chains. More than 50 companies have shared $2.7 billion in contracts, including for the aircraft’s titanium and composite tails which are exported. Lockheed Martin Australia CEO Joe North said: “This IOC ushers in a new era of Australian air power that gives the RAAF transformational and game-changing capabilities.”

Queensland opens Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund

The Queensland state government is offering SMEs matched grants from $5,000 to $30,000 in the second round of funding available through its Defence and Aerospace Industry Development Fund. The grants aim to boost participation in defence, aerospace and space industry supply chains by helping companies meet compliance with international industry certification requirements. Applications may be made here.

Thales Australia to produce sonar system

The federal government has contracted French group Thales’ Australian arm to develop a Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar (MOAS, pictured) and High Frequency Intercept Array (HFIA) system. The $23.7 million contract will deliver next generation systems for the Collins Class submarine fleet. The Heron MOAS was designed and developed locally over more than 20 years of R&D. The High Frequency Intercept Array will enhance the submarine’s ability to detect high frequency emissions such as sonars.

SME grants to break down export barriers

The federal government has announced $361,116 in grants through the Defence Global Competitiveness Grant programme which aims to break down barriers to exporting. Grants have gone to four companies – Advanced Power Drives, Redarc Electronics, Safe Defence Australia, and Ferra Engineering. The grants will help SMEs boost manufacturing and production capabilities. Applications may be made here.

Picture: Thales Heron Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar

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