In late April the Australian Minister of Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, visited Rockwell Collins’ Sydney facilities to witness production of the 100th Optical Assembly (OA) for the F-35 LIGHTNING II Electro-Optical/Distributed Aperture System (EO/DAS).
The EO/DAS warns the pilot of incoming aircraft and missile threats, providing day/night vision and supporting the navigation functions of the LIGHTNING’s forward-looking infrared sensor. The company expects to produce over 7,000 EO/DAS during the life of the programme: some 40% of global production is scheduled to be manufactured by Rockwell Collins Australia, making it a significant export for the division and the nation.
Rockwell Collins in Australia has also competed successfully for maintenance work on the Australian F-35 and is vigorously pursuing global sustainment opportunities for the aircraft. Having already grown considerably in Australia in the last decade, it plans to increase its footprint to include a manufacturing capability for critical test equipment that will be required by Australian and partner countries.
“Over the past 10 years we have focused on building capability in Australia to support the F-35. The skills and expertise we have built at our company’s operations in Australia have been integral to the local capability we have developed for the Australian Defence Force, such as the Army’s Digital Terminal Control System,” Nick Gibbs, Managing Director for Rockwell Collins in Australia, explained.