A Geelong business has won a $168 million contract with the US Navy to produce and deliver countermeasure flares for global F-35 operators.
Chemring Australia’s deal will create highly skilled manufacturing jobs in the state, and have knock-on benefits for local small businesses supplying raw materials, testing and transportation.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said, “This is a significant milestone, not only for Chemring Australia, but for Australia’s defence industry as a whole.”
Chemring is a leading manufacturer of countermeasure flares, which aim to divert heat-seeking missiles away from their target.
In the last 12 months, the business has grown by 70 per cent to employ almost 100 people.
Overall, more than 50 Australian companies have shared $1.7 billion in production contracts as part of the global F-35 program, employing more than 2,400 Australians.
Victorian senator Sarah Henderson said, “This shows that Victoria has the potential to be a real defence industry powerhouse, with regional cities like Geelong in the box seat to secure more work like this.
“This announcement builds on the Morrison government’s significant investment to build and sustain 30 self-propelled howitzers in Geelong, which will deliver up to 350 jobs and provide vital capability for the Australian Army.”
Over the coming years, Australia itself will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program, which is aimed at replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that have been in service with the RAAF since 1985.
The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will have a projected life of 30 years in service.
For the RAAF, the F-35A’s combination of full-spectrum, low-observable stealth coatings and materials, advanced radar-dispersing shaping, network-centric sensor and communications suites – combined with a lethal strike capability – mean the aircraft will be the ultimate force-multiplying, air-combat platform.