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Wed, Aug 03, 2005

JSF Creates More Jobs Down Under

GKN Contract Tripled In Value Over Past Year

Australian industry has won more high value work on the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, Defence Minister Robert Hill and Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane announced Tuesday.

GKN provides engineering design services to JSF prime contractor Lockheed Martin and its partner Northrop Grumman for each of the three JSF variants. The value of GKN's work with Northrop Grumman has tripled over the past 12 months.

"As predicted in March this year at the Avalon Air Show, Australian industry involvement in the JSF Program continues to grow," Senator Hill said. "In June 2003, GKN started with 30 engineers working on JSF. The company now employs some 150 engineers on the program, with the majority working in Melbourne and Sydney". Senator Hill said a small number of the engineers are based in Brisbane as well as Northrop Grumman's El Segundo plant in California and Lockheed's facility in Fort Worth, TX and the overall number is growing.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said it was pleasing to hear that GKN had reported a 'reverse brain drain' whereby Australian engineers have been returning to Australia in pursuit of work on the JSF Program.

"This work illustrates the important role Australian industry is playing as JSF activity ramps up and that Australian companies can contribute to the highest levels of technology of the JSF aircraft," Mr Macfarlane said.

In addition, Canberra-based Kellogg Brown & Root and Catalyst Interactive, in collaboration with Adacel Technologies from Melbourne, have been selected for software development on the JSF project.

Northrop Grumman has selected a small group of multi-national software specialists to develop JSF training courseware products for JSF pilots and maintainers.

The inclusion of the Australian companies follows an 18-month selection process involving some 120 international companies.

FMI: www.minister.defence.gov.au

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