The Australian Government has awarded contracts to local small businesses to provide systems and services for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter programme.

The contracts were awarded under the government’s New Air Combat Capability Industry Support Program, which is designed to help local businesses to bid for F-35 programme contracts.

Nupress Tools secured a A$250,000 ($168,775) contract to purchase a machining centre. The contract also includes training personnel and developing systems for engine component manufacturing.

In April, Nupress signed a contract with F-35 programme prime contractor Pratt & Whitney to manufacture precision machined small parts for the latter’s F135 engine.

The government also awarded funding to the tune of A$1m to Norseld last month to support the F-35 aircraft programme.

Under the contract, Norseld will design and develop a large coating chamber at its facility in Adelaide.

Australia Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price stressed the key role played by local businesses in the F-35 global programme.

Melissa Price said: “Nupress Tools and Norseld are shining examples of Aussie ingenuity in the global F-35 programme and are showing the world what our small businesses are capable of in the defence industry.

“More than 50 Australian companies have shared in A$1.69bn ($1.14bn) in global F-35 production contracts, creating more than 2,000 Aussie jobs.

“The Morrison Government is on track to deliver more than 5,000 jobs by 2023 with Australian businesses sharing more than A$2bn ($1.35bn) in work on the F-35 JSF.”

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) plans to acquire 72 of these fifth-generation combat aircraft to replace the Hornet fighter fleet.

The first two F-35 aircraft arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown in December.