‘Innovation key to Australian JSF success’: Combet

Greg Combet, Minister for Defence Materiel and Science, today opened the fourth Australian JSF Technology & Innovation Conference in Melbourne.

“The conference will allow over 200 of Australia’s leading academic, technical and industry innovators to explore opportunities to be involved in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, now and into the future,” said Mr Combet.

“The JSF Program offers immense opportunities for Australian industry potentially creating several thousand long-term jobs, whether it is through the development of new markets or the chance to enter into global supply chains.”

“For Australia to be successful in this future environment we must drive innovation in defence technology by pooling the expertise and resources of government, industry and R&D organisations,” Mr Combet said.

“Today’s conference is one small step in that process.  The connections made here today between research organisations, industry and government may well lead to new capabilities in the JSF in 10 years time.”

Mr Combet highlighted the establishment of the Defence Materials Technology Centre as a successful Government initiative, noting that the Centre had expanded the relationship between DSTO, universities and industry. 

“I’m glad to see there are representatives from the DMTC here today,” he said.

The potential for Australia to become a global supplier of titanium and titanium components for the aerospace sector is one area being considered by the conference.

“Opportunities for Australian Small to Medium Enterprises to win work in global supply chains of large primes and their second and third tier suppliers are also being explored.

“These opportunities do often present challenges for local industry as the upfront investment is significant to improve capability and increase capacity.

 “To help overcome these challenges the Government is working with the JSF prime contractors to develop long-term agreements with Australian companies so that the industry has the confidence to make the necessary investments to win this work.”

Mr Combet announced that $8.5 million of funding had been approved by the Government to help industry overcome early investment challenges.

“This support will be targeted at technological developments that will enhance Australian involvement in the program, investments that will increase the opportunities for small Australian companies to become involved and also encourage innovation by Australian industry which has applications for JSF follow-on development.

“This targeted support, along with support from other government programs – is particularly important as the focus shifts to greater engagement in JSF production, sustainment and follow-on development.”

Mr Combet also congratulated the 28 Australian companies that have already won work in the face of stiff international competition on the JSF Program.

Posted by DMTC on May 3rd, 2010