Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price is travelling to the US to seek more work in the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program following Turkey’s ejection.
The US officially jettisoned Turkey from the global F-35 program after the country received shipments of Russia’s S-400 air defence system.
In a statement, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said that the fighter jet 'cannot co-exist' with the Russian technology for fears that data about the jets' radar profile will make its way back to Russia.
"Unfortunately, Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian S-400 air defence systems renders its continued involvement with the F-35 impossible. The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities," Grisham said.
Turkish companies made 937 parts for each F-35. The Australian government has spotted an opportunity and is keen to highlight Australia’s suitability and capability to take on additional work being reallocated from these suppliers. Defence has identified 11 companies as having the capability to take on some of the work Turkish suppliers were undertaking.
Minister Price will meet with Under Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord to discuss current and future Australian industry involvement in F-35 production.
In a statement, Minister Price said she intends to ‘advocate for further industrial base integration by highlighting what Australian defence industry has to offer to new and existing programs, like the F-35 and Triton.’
Fifty Australian businesses currently supply parts fitted to every JSF globally. By 2023, Australian industry production work will exceed $2 billion.
Minister Price will also meet with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman representatives to see the integration of Australian manufactured components in US supply chains, and discuss options for more sustainment of current maritime platforms to support operational readiness in the region.