Australian F-35A receives Australian-made vertical tails

AU3 tailThe third Australian F-35A Lightning II has received vertical tails made by Australian company Marand as production of the aircraft nears completion.

The aircraft, which is currently on the production line at Fort Worth, Texas, is the first Australian F-35 to receive Australian-made vertical tails, the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) announced.

“Affordability is a top priority for the F-35 program, and this means industry has to be at the forefront of innovation and efficiency to keep receiving work,” said Air Vice-Marshal Leigh Gordon, Head Joint Strike Fighter.

“Examples like this prove that Australian industry has the capacity and capability to provide overseas customers value and reliability.”

Marand is the second source of supply for about a third of the vertical tails for the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant, and a subcontractor to BAE Systems in the UK, which is the other source of supply.

“Marand is supporting BAE Systems UK in producing vertical tails for the F-35, with more than 25 tails produced here in Australia so far,” said Marand chief executive Rohan Stocker.

“This follows wonderful support from BAE Systems in helping Marand build the capability to supply a complex aerostructure. We have a great relationship, and it puts us in a strong position with even more capacity to assist as production volumes increase over the next few years.”

More than 50 Australian companies have shared in more than $800 million in production contracts to date.

Australia’s next eight aircraft are in various stages of production.