Queensland-based TAE Aerospace has achieved Initial Depot Capability (IDC) requirements for the repair of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine fan and power modules for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter.
The qualification means TAE Aerospace’s F135 Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) depot has become the first operational F135 engine depot in the Asia-Pacific region, and has begun supporting the repair of fan and power modules for F-35s in the region.
The module IDC milestone was reached with the completion of a full rebuild of an F135 power module – the first to be conducted outside of the US – and follows a successful fan module repair qualification in 2020. The company says the IDC marks a critical point in the development of a regional F135 engine MRO&U capability.
“The investment made by the Commonwealth of Australia and TAE Aerospace over the past five years will result in benefits for both Australia, with an important sovereign industrial capability now available in country, as well as at the local level, with the creation of many jobs over the coming years,” TAE Aerospace’s CEO, Andrew Sanderson said in a statement.
Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Sustainment Operations Vice President, O Sung Kwon added, “We congratulate the TAE Aerospace team on reaching this critical sustainment milestone for the F135 engine. The activation of the Australia depot will bring increased capacity to the global F135 MRO&U network in support of the growing fleet.
“Standing up the regional MRO&U depots is an integral part of the enterprise’s strategy to accelerate capacity growth across the F135 MRO&U network to exceed program requirements.
“Strong partnerships between the Commonwealth, global OEMs, and Australian industry are fundamental to supporting airpower capability in our region. Close collaboration has enabled us to stand up this important capability in time, underpinning Australia’s goal to achieve a sovereign MRO&U capability for the F135 engine.”
The work will be performed at TAE Aerospace’s new 16,000 sqm Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) in Bundamba, near Ipswich, where it also maintains RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler GE F414 engines, Australian Army M1A1 Abrams Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbines, and Honeywell TPE331 turboprop engines.