This week, Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne visited Rockwell Collins at its Lane Cove, Sydney, facility to witness the production of the 100th Optical Assembly (OA) for the F-35 Lightning II electro-optical distributed aperture system (EO/DAS). The company is expected to produce more than 7,000 EO/DAS across the life of the F-35 program with 40 percent of the global production being manufactured by Rockwell Collins Australia.
Minister Pyne welcomed the achievement, noting that Rockwell Collins’ performance on the program is proof that Australian manufacturing can compete with the best in the world and Australia’s ambition to grow the local defence industry is highlighted by this milestone. The EO/DAS enhances the F-35's effectiveness by warning the pilot of incoming aircraft and missile threats, providing day/night vision and supporting the navigation function of the F-35 Lightning II's forward-looking infrared sensor.
In addition to the production of OAs for the F-35 program, Rockwell Collins in Australia has also been successful in competing for maintenance work on the Australian F-35 and is planning to increase its footprint to include a manufacturing capability for critical test equipment that will be required by Australian and partner countries.
“Over the past 10 years we have focused on building capability in Australia to support the F-35. The skills and expertise we have built at our company’s operations in Australia have been integral to the local capability we have developed for the Australian Defence Force, such as the Army’s Digital Terminal Control System,” said Nick Gibbs, managing director for Rockwell Collins in Australia.
The F-35 OA will be a major export for Rockwell Collin in Australia, with the company also vigorously pursuing global sustainment opportunities for the aircraft. The company has expanded significantly over the past decade and will continue to grow in Australia.
Source: Rockwell Collins
Date: May 5, 2017