South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill has officially opened BAE Systems Australia’s new $10m titanium machining facility at Edinburgh Parks, South Australia, which the company will use in the fabrication of F-35 vertical tail components.
The new facilities feature a Starrag BTP5000 titanium milling machine, which BAE says is the only example of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. The Swiss-made machine weighs 200 tonnes, was shipped to Edinburgh Park in 23 containers, and took six months to install.
“This project is underpinned by BAE Systems’ participation in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter supply chain over the next 20 years. Our involvement in supplying parts for the next generation strike fighter provided the catalyst to invest in expanding our advanced manufacturing capability,” BAE’s Systems chief executive David Allott said.
BAE says the investment will allow it to pursue growth opportunities. ”Having an expanded machining capability and increased production capacity, together with a highly skilled and experienced workforce, will help to secure new opportunities in aviation or commercial industries as well as future defence projects,” Allott said.
The titanium machining facility has been installed as part of collaborative agreement with the State Government and BAE sub-contractor, Rosebank Engineering, with Rosebank investing in a separate advanced metals finishing facility due to be opened in Wingfield early next year.
“Bringing together BAE Systems and Rosebank to fill a niche capability in advanced manufacturing will deliver long-term benefits for South Australians,” Premier Weatherill said.