I am delighted to be here today sharing in the celebration of the successful completion of the Lead-In Fighter Capability Assurance Program, or as we have come to know it LIF CAP. And to commemorate the rollout of the final Hawk 127 plus aircraft.
The Royal Australian Air Force’s Hawk fleet is now among the most capable in the world following this major capability upgrade. The modified aircraft provides the Airforce with a Lead-In Fighter that is comparable to the Royal Air Force’s Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer and ensures the Australian Hawk aircraft is suitable for a fifth generation air force: preparing pilots for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The upgrade also included the replacement of two legacy synthetic training devices with three full-mission simulators provided by CAE and the incorporation of an Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation capability on to the aircraft by Cubic Defence Applications Inc.
The capability and service we continue to provide on the Hawk aircraft has helped the Royal Australian Airforce to be one of the most respected and capable Air Forces in the world. And through our support for Hawk, our relationship with the Royal Australian Airforce has endured and strengthened over time.
This project has involved BAE Systems engineers in the UK and Australia, BAE Systems and RAAF technicians, industry partners CAE and Cubic Defence Applications, and close collaboration with the Tactical Fighter Support Program Office. A real team effort that we value.
We are proud to have worked alongside you. Bringing to Australia world leading technology and world leading IP from our global businesses and supply chain.
Bringing it here, making it Australian, and in doing so growing the capability of Australian industry has been a great aspect of this upgrade.
In addition, our dedicated teams here and in Pearce, Western Australia have been providing full sustainment of the Hawk fleet, all maintenance and engineering works as well as managing the supply-chain, through a performance based contract since it first entered service in 2001.
The enduring partnership we have built in that time with 78 Wing, 76 Squadron, 79 Squadron and the Tactical Fighter Systems Program Office is one we are extremely proud of and has helped deliver milestones for the Air Force like the completion of over 100,000 accident-free flying hours.
Our unified approach has ensured aircraft are available when needed, delivered a continuity of capability for the RAAF and demonstrated how defence can effectively partner with industry to deliver the capability it requires.
Further, we have created and sustained over 350 highly-skilled jobs and worked with in excess of 100 local companies, where we spend over 18 million dollars per annum.
And it is this team, our direct employees, our supply-chain, and our partner companies who have worked tirelessly and with conviction to provide the best capability. And in a way that resulted in NO impact to the Airforces pilot training program.
To those of you here today, celebrating this milestone, on behalf of BAE Systems Australia, I thank you. Thank you for your commitment, dedication and support to providing the men and women of the Airforce with the best capability to support their service to our nation.
The nature and the way we collaborated to deliver the LIFCAP contract was amazing. It has created a framework of trust that will allow us to evolve our relationship over the coming years. Together we are doing some great things for Australia’s defence industry.
This is a really exciting time for defence in Australia. The industry is growing, and as we look to the future, I am truly excited to be able to continue our relationship.