• Nigel Pittaway
    Nigel Pittaway

Adelaide based Axiom Precision Manufacturing has won more work in Australia on the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program in a new contract with BAE Systems Australia.

Axiom already supports BAE Systems with component machining for the JSF. This new contract will take the value of Axiom’s work to more than $3 million a year.

The company machines seven parts in each vertical tail set produced by BAE Systems at its Edinburgh Park facilities north of Adelaide. Since starting on the program in 2015, Axiom has continued to expand its machining capabilities and won the new work after a six-month trial during 2019/2020.

The new work involves machining one of the most complex parts for the F-35 vertical tail - the Leading Edge Spar which at just under three metres is the longest titanium component in the aircraft’s vertical tail. The machining work awarded to Axiom was previously undertaken in the UK.

BAE Systems production of vertical tail parts at Edinburgh Parks began in 2008 and will continue for another decade.

“From the very start, Axiom has worked closely with us to understand the program and has invested significantly in new facilities and technologies to improve its capabilities as a supplier to the defence industry,” BAE Systems Australia Managing Director Defence Delivery Andrew Gresham said.

“Securing defence industry contracts has provided the critical long-term, high-value work that has allowed us to transition from the car industry by developing bespoke Australian manufacturing capabilities,” Aerospace and Defence Manager Axiom Precision Manufacturing Fred Hull said.

“These long-term programs allow Axiom to have the confidence to forge ahead with training, capability improvements and capital investments.”

Family-owned Axiom has been awarded a $809,998 grant to purchase a five-axis three metre vertical computer numerical control machine, and to train staff in its operation.

Axiom is in the final phases of a massive expansion of its Adelaide facility that will see a tripling in size of the factory and office footprint from the original site.

“Axiom recently joined forces with Defence to rapidly produce face shields for frontline health workers,” Minister for Defence industry Melissa Price said.

“This demonstrated the highly-advanced manufacturing capacity we have in our defence industry and why it’s important to invest in these capabilities.

“The funding we’re providing Axiom will enable them to invest in new equipment to ramp up their involvement in the F-35 program, which leads to the creation of more local jobs and opportunities in their supply chain.”

Victorian-based Moog has been awarded $250,000 to undertake a study and capability gap analysis to prepare for the sustainment phase of the F-35 Global Support Solution. This analysis is the first step towards Moog becoming a qualified repair source for sustainment under the F-35 Program.

Victorian-based A.W. Bell has been awarded $250,000 to invest at its Dandenong South casting and production facility, to improve competitiveness and reduce risk for the F-35 global supply chain.

The grants were awarded under the New Air Combat Capability – Industry Support Program. It supports the development of new or improved capabilities that enhance Australian industry’s ability to win work in production, sustainment and follow-on development phases of the F-35 Program.

So far, 50 Australian companies have shared in almost $1.8 billion in the production of the F-35 Program, employing over 2,400 Australian workers.


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