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The Australian Government has provided funding to three companies to increase their involvement in the global Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F-35 programme and continue to fight against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

NuMetric, which is trading as Axiom and one among the three companies, has secured more than A$800,000 ($553,240) to purchase new technical equipment and train staff for its operation.

Under the contract, Axiom will procure a five-axis 3m vertical computer numerical control machine.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “Axiom recently joined forces with Defence to rapidly produce face shields for frontline health workers.

“This demonstrated the highly advanced manufacturing capacity we have in our defence industry and why it’s important to invest in these capabilities.

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“The funding we’re providing Axiom will enable them to invest in new equipment to ramp up their involvement in the F-35 programme, which leads to the creation of more local jobs and opportunities in their supply chain.”

In total, 50 Australian companies have received approximately A$1.8bn ($1.2bn) in the production of the F-35 programme.

Work under the programme will employ over 2,400 Australian workers.

The grants were awarded under the New Air Combat Capability – Industry Support Program, which supports the development of improved capabilities that enhance sustainment and follow-on development phases of the F-35 programme.

Additionally, Moog has won A$250,000 ($172,900) to analyse the capability gap required to prepare for the sustainment phase of the F-35 Global Support Solution.

Once completed, the analysis will make the company a qualified repair source under the F-35 programme.

The government also provided A$250,000 ($172,900) to A W Bell that will be invested by the company in its Dandenong South casting and production facility. This will improve competitiveness and reduce risk for the F-35 global supply chain.