Twenty five aviation technicians, including apprentices, who lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19 on the commercial aviation industry, have been employed by BAE Systems Australia to work on military aircraft.
The former Jetstar employees will be based at Williamtown NSW and their skills will be used to support the established Hawk Lead-In-Fighter (LIF) and the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
The recruitment of these skilled technicians is the result of close collaboration between industry and the Department of Defence and will further develop and grow the critical technical capabilities of the Hunter Valley region to support a sovereign defence industry.
BAE Systems plays a key role in sustaining the F-35 advanced fighter aircraft, not only for Australia, but also for the wider Asia Pacific region. Sustainment of the fifth generation fighter fleet is expected to directly create 360 jobs by 2025.
BAE Systems also sustains the 33 strong Australian fleet of Hawk Mk 127 ‘lead-in fighters’ used to train pilots for combat aircraft such as the Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“I am delighted that we can provide highly skilled jobs at a time when so many industries have been impacted by the pandemic," BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Gabby Costigan said.
“The Defence industry can be an important economic catalyst, particularly with our increasing emphasis on developing Australian expertise and ensuring Australian industry is key to our supply chain. Over the next five years we expect to grow our Williamtown workforce significantly to support Australia’s growing F-35 fleet.
“The addition of 25 specialists to our workforce will ensure that we can continue to develop, grow and retain critical aerospace capabilities that will benefit both the Hunter region and the nation.”