Lane Cove company provides 360 degree vision for joint strike fighter pilots

Media release | 27 April 2017

Lane Cove company Rockwell Collins Australia has reached a milestone in supporting our defence forces by manufacturing its 100th Optical Assembly for the F-35 electro-optic distributed aperture system (DAS), which helps provide the world’s Joint Strike Fighter jet pilots with 360 degree combat vision.

“Congratulations to Rockwell Collins Australia which is manufacturing defence technology here in Sydney to give the world’s Joint Strike Fighter pilots 360 degree vision from their cockpits providing full situational awareness in combat situations,” said Duncan Challen, Executive Director of Industry Development at the NSW Department of Industry.

“The optical assemblies are a key component of the Joint Strike Fighter’s electro-optical Distributed Aperture System, which is an infrared system that can track aircraft and missiles in all directions and provide vision for day and night navigation.

“What it does in effect is allow pilots to see what is happening in any direction outside their aircraft with a 360 degree view projected onto the visor of their helmets.

“This technology means the aircraft structure is no longer a visual barrier to our fighter pilots as it would have been in the old days of dogfights.

“This is a great example of NSW and Australia’s world class defence industry competing successfully in global supply chains,” Mr Challen said.

Rockwell Collins Australia has reached a milestone by producing its 100th optical assembly unit and is expected to produce more than 7,000 over the life of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project.

Rockwell Collins Australia has a long term agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to produce up to 40 per cent of the world’s optical assemblies for the Joint Strike Fighters. As many as 3,000 JSFs could be produced worldwide and Australia is set to acquire 72 of them over the next decade, with potential for a fourth Australian squadron that would bring the number to 100.

Rockwell Collins Australia is supporting about 70 fulltime staff at its Australian headquarters in Lane Cove which provides its technical support base for repair, overhaul and equipment modifications.

Rockwell Collins Australia Managing Director Nick Gibbs said: “It is fantastic to be contributing to a globally significant project like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which will underpin the defence capabilities of so many international air forces including our own. It is a tremendous feather in our cap and an endorsement of all the support we have received from the Federal Government and NSW Government so far.”

Download the media release.