The official 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 armor for the C-130J Hercules airlifted aircraft. The innovation could reduce aircraft fatigue and the risk of injury to Australian Defence Force personnel. 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.
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 defense industry to supply the ADF with the very best capability. This contract will strengthen ADF’s capabilities and provide an opportunity to maximize Australian industry participation. 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 Director of Aerospace & Mechanical Consulting Engineers, John Eldridge, said, “The contract was an opportunity for the small business to export the armor 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.”
The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems. The C-130J is the newest version of the C-130 Hercules and the only model in production. By July 2021, 450 C-130J were delivered with 26 operators in 22 countries. The Royal Australian Air Force was the second international customer for the C-130J-30, with an initial order of twelve aircraft. An additional order for two more aircraft was planned but replaced by the purchase of a fifth Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.