HUNTER engineering company Varley has expressed renewed business confidence after reaping rewards from a lucrative federal government contract for the F35-A Joint Strike Fighter program.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne will on Thursday announce a $37 million contract signed by defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin will see the Varley Group design and build secure cabins for Air Force personnel deployed overseas with the new fleet of aircraft.
Varley said the contract would create at least 20 jobs at its Tomago factory, with the build expected to run until 2019.
The portable cabins – which can expand to three times the size of a shipping container – are secure facilities designed to protect highly sensitive material, and their usage is not limited to the F35s.
“Acquiring these new portable, Australian-made, cabins is an important part of our Joint Strike Fighter program and will mean that our top secret systems and personnel who support our jets on the ground will be securely housed and protected,” Mr Pyne said.
“This acquisition is part of the transformation required to make Australia the most technologically advanced small modern Air Force in the world and optimise Australia’s individual Defence capabilities by operating as a truly networked force.”
Varley managing director Jeff Phillips welcomed the news and said it put the factory in a good position to secure future contracts. “We have very high hopes we’ll be able to build the same product for the US or any other country that will have these planes – that’s good for Hunter jobs,” he said.