The Australian government has awarded a job-creating $2.13 million contract to a Hawkesbury-based engineering consultancy to continue its development of a unique lightweight armour for the C-130J Hercules aircraft. The contract with Aerospace & Mechanical Consulting Engineers, in partnership with fellow NSW company Armor Composite Engineering, will use a cutting-edge amour solution to provide the in-service aircraft with stronger protection. The innovation could reduce aircraft fatigue and the risk of injury to Australian Defence Force personnel.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the government’s investment had created jobs at both companies and was further evidence of the government’s determination to back defence industry to supply the ADF with the very best capability. “This contract will strengthen ADF capabilities and provide an opportunity to maximise Australian industry participation,” Price said. “By investing in the innovative ideas of Australian small and medium businesses, we are delivering more opportunities for those businesses to participate in Defence projects and directly contribute to ADF capability. The Morrison government is committed to supporting innovative small businesses within the Australian defence industry to develop technologies that present opportunities for Defence and for international export markets.”

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the important contract was a vote of confidence in local capabilities. “The awarding of this contract shows that Hawkesbury businesses are more than capable of competing in this highly specialised field,” Payne said.

The director of Aerospace & Mechanical Consulting Engineers, John Eldridge, said the contract was an opportunity for the small business to export the armour solution to Australia’s allies and grow its workforce. “To support this contract, Aerospace & Mechanical Consulting Engineers has employed an additional four engineering staff and Armor Composite Engineering has increased its manufacturing staff by two, with a further two staff to be employed in the next 12 months,” Eldridge said.

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