The first vertical tails manufactured by Australian company Marand (Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia) were installed Nov. 13 on the F-35 Lightning II fighter also known as AF-73 in Lockheed Martin’s (Ft. Worth, Texas) manufacturing plant.
The installation of these first major air frame components marks an important production milestone for Marand, BAE Systems and Australia, demonstrating the significant industrial benefits the F-35 program brings to the growing Australian aerospace industry. The work on the F-35 vertical tails is subcontracted to Marand by BAE Systems and is one of the largest planned manufacturing projects for the F-35 in Australia, with 722 ship sets planned.
“We are proud of this incredible milestone for our team and for the work our company has done to establish a unique capability in the field of aerostructures manufacturing. The Marand team has risen to the challenge of doing incredible work thanks to the support from BAE Systems,” said Marand CEO Rohan Stocker. “Our work not only serves the Australian Defence industry, but also creates high technology Australian jobs.”
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and provides significant benefits to the Australian aerospace industry, with more than $412 million (USD) already contracted.