Lockheed Martin Australia has been awarded a three-year $67.6 million contract by the Commonwealth for the provision of F-35 training support services (TSS) to the RAAF.
The contract will see 60 Lockheed Martin Australia and Milskil pilot instructors, maintenance instructors, courseware developers, training device technicians, and IT support staff provide training and support services at RAAF Williamtown, and a new satellite training capability at RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory.
“The TSS contract ensures the world-class sovereign F-35 training support services solution we developed with Milskil is sustained for a further three years, while further solidifying Williamtown as Lockheed Martin’s largest F-35 base presence outside of the US,” Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive, Joe North said in a statement.
“We look forward to expanding the F-35 enterprise in Australia and working with Milskil in establishing the new F-35 training capability at RAAF Base Tindal, with recruiting for up to five new roles scheduled to commence in 2021.”
Milskil Chief Executive Officer, Grant Iddon added, “Milskil has been providing operational training to the RAAF’s Air Combat Group for nearly 20 years. Since being selected in early 2018 to provide support training services for the RAAF F-35 program we have worked in close partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia to grow and develop critical sovereign capability.
“As an Australian-owned company we are proud to play a key role in the sustainment of this transformative 5th-generation air combat training capability for the RAAF,” he added.
In a separate statement, Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said the agreement includes the operation and maintenance support for six F-35A Full Mission Simulators at Williamtown.
“There are plans to install four more simulators at RAAF Base Tindal in 2021, which would also be included under the support arrangements,” she said. “The simulators at Williamtown and Tindal have the ability to be networked together and share mission data to greatly enhance training.”
The RAAF now has 30 F-35As in service with 3SQN and 2OCU at Williamtown. Fifteen more F-35As are scheduled to be delivered in 2021 to be operated by 77SQN at Williamtown, while the Tindal-based 75SQN will begin its transition to the F-35A in 2022.