Heavy maintenance and sustainment work for F-35 airframes in the southern Pacific region would be undertaken at BAE’s facility at RAAF Williamtown near Newcastle. Meanwhile, TAE would service the F-35’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engines from its facility at RAAF Base Amberley.
The Pentagon said in January that Australia would be the regional hub for heavy maintenance for the JSF for the southern Pacific, with Japan to take responsibility for the fleet in the northern Pacific region. Both countries were expected to be able to provide initial airframe heavy maintenance capabilities by 2018. For F-35 heavy engine maintenance, an initial capability would be provided in Australia by early 2018, with Japan to follow by 2023.
“The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in development or production anywhere in the world and securing this work in Australia is a great outcome for these companies,” Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said in a statement.
“This announcement comes on top of the US$433 million that Australian companies have won in production and development contracts to date. “It represents another positive economic benefit of Australia’s participation in the F-35 program.”
BAE Systems Australia chief executive David Allott has welcomed his company’s selection to undertake F-35 heavy maintenance and sustainment work, saying the deal represented a “substantial scope of work”.
According to a BAE Australia statement, “Work under the contract will be undertaken in Williamtown, NSW where BAE Systems currently supports the total sustainment of the Hawk Mk 127 Lead-In Fighter fleet.”
Allott said in the statement that: “Our proven fast jet aircraft maintenance capabilities in Williamtown, combined with our strong commitment to working collaboratively with Australian industry, ensures that the international JSF partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers will have ready access to a strategically important, first-class regional depot.”