The US Navy has agreed to a $3.4 million deal with a small Victorian firm to build 22 work stands for its P-8A Poseidons.
AirFab specialises in aluminium fabrication and mostly manufactures light, flat-packed platforms and ladders that can be easily transported.
They have previously worked with Qantas, Virgin, Jetstar and the RAAF directly and have been described by Aston MP Alan Tudge as a “local success story”.
The platforms set to be delivered to the US Navy will allow technicians to safely reach the Poseidon’s Wide-Band Satellite Communication station and conduct fuselage inspections without overextending themselves.
The news comes after Australian Aviation reported in 2020 that Air Fab, which then employed just eight people, was handed a $1.3 million sub-contract to design safety stands used to maintain the RAAF’s F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated the business, saying the contract award demonstrated the export opportunities available to local industry.
“Working with Royal Australian Air Force gave AirFab direct engagement with the US Navy that an Australian small business would not normally have had access to,” Minister Price said.
Aston MP Tudge said the new export project would help bolster the local economy in Knox.
“The materials used in the stands are Australian made, with the steel and aluminium sourced from local manufacturers,” Tudge said.
“The export opportunity not only provides direct growth to AirFab but allows for residual employment and training to more than 20 small and medium sized companies that AirFab works with.”
Separate to the US Navy order, AirFab is manufacturing eight work stands for the RAAF P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol fleet, too.