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Australian firm completes first vertical tail for F-35

Australian engineering firm Marand has completed the first of an expected 722 vertical tails for F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.

By Richard Tomkins
Australian firm completes first vertical tail for F-35
An F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft banks over the flightline at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida on, April 23, 2009. The aircraft is the first F-35 to visit the base which will be the future home of the JSF training facility. (UPI Photo/Julianne Showalter/US Air Force) | License Photo

Australia’s Department of Defense reports the first of an expected 722 sets of vertical tails for F-35 aircraft has been manufactured in the country.

The vertical tail for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter was made by engineering firm Marand.

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“Melbourne-based Marand and its supply chain are commencing production of up to 722 sets of vertical tails for the F-35, which will be fitted to the F-35s of United States and other F-35 partner nations,” said Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Michael Ronaldson, representing the Minister for Defense Senator David Johnston at a ceremony at the Marand plant.

“The manufacture and delivery of the vertical tails is expected to generate around $1 billion (about U.S. $924.6 million) of revenue and employ 200 staff at Marand through the life of the program.

“With the commitment and support of Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney, a steady F-35 production ramp up, a continuing favorable Australian dollar and a ‘sharp pencil’ by Australian industry, I expect Australian industry do very well on the F-35 program over many years.”

Richardson said there are several other significant opportunities for Australian industry in the F-35 program, including making composite panels for the aircraft’s fuselage, weapons carriers, decoy flares, and other components.

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