The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has been held up as an exemplar of the value of striving to enhance the relationship between Defence and industry.
“I believe there is no other program that better demonstrates the value of partnership between Defence and industry to build capability than the F-35 program,” said Kim Gillis, Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), speaking at the 2016 Defence and Industry Conference held in Canberra on June 15.
“With more than half a billion [US] dollars worth of work already won by Australian industry in the production phase of the F-35 program, Defence and industry are now working together on a range of new opportunities.”
Defence has estimated that Australian industry performance in production will reach a value of US$2 billion by 2023, with further opportunities expected.
“The F-35 program embodies our approach and will enhance the partnership between Defence and industry in the future,” Gillis said. “While the achievements in the program so far have been in design and production, the F-35 global support system is developing with a new round of opportunities now available.
“As a key F-35 partner, and the only partner permanently located in the Asia Pacific region, Australia has the opportunity to strengthen the F-35 global support system and increase affordability and availability for global F-35 customers worldwide.”
Meanwhile, prime contractor Lockheed Martin has welcomed the Danish government’s selection of the F-35 for the Royal Danish Air Force, with 27 conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) variant F-35A aircraft being acquired, stating on June 9 that anticipated industrial opportunities would bring economic benefits to Denmark for decades to come.
On the other hand, the Canadian government is reported to be considering acquiring Super Hornets and deferring any acquisition of the F-35 by a decade, which could see work shifted away from Canadian companies.