Australian companies Chemring and Quickstep Holdings have secured funding for product development and cost reduction initiatives for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35 Lightning II countermeasure flares.

Pyrotechnic and countermeasure developer, producer and supplier Chemring Australia will use the fund to expand its Lara facility in Victoria. The company will use the facility to carry out the design, testing and production of the F-35 countermeasure flares.

As part of the project, aerospace-grade advanced composite manufacturer Quickstep will develop and commission new and advanced manufacturing technology at its Bankstown facility in New South Wales. This will be used to provide the housings for Chemring’s F-35 countermeasure flares.

“More than 50 companies across Australia have directly shared in more than $1bn of global F-35 production contracts to date, Pyne added.”

Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Chemring and Quickstep are excellent examples of leading-edge Australian companies succeeding in winning work in international supply chains.

“This initiative will position Australian industry to take advantage of emerging opportunities to supply countermeasures to the burgeoning F-35 market and beyond.

“Chemring and Quickstep have both invested heavily in this initiative, and have also received funding from the US F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office.”

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In addition, the New Air Combat Capability Industry Support Program, which is administered by the Australian Department of Defence, has provided $1m in funding for Quickstep.

More than 50 companies across Australia have directly shared in more than $1bn of global F-35 production contracts to date, Pyne added.

Small businesses from the country also have the opportunity to benefit indirectly from supply chain work.

Pyne added: “Further opportunities are expected for Australian companies to increase production contract values over the next four years as F-35 production rates continue to increase.”

The involvement of the Australian industry in the production of the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet is expected to surpass $2bn by 2023.