Eight BAE Systems Australia technicians are set to undergo the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet training programme in the US.
The technicians will be trained to support the addition of the F-35 joint strike fighter aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fleet later this year.
Having been transferred from the Hawk Lead-In Fighter programme, the BAE personnel will be trained by Lockheed Martin for 13 weeks at the company’s production facility training centre in Fort Worth, Texas, US.
After completing the training programme, the technicians will return to Australia to lead a dedicated depot workforce that would help support the Australian and regional F-35 fighter aircraft.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Gabby Costigan said: “This is the next critical step in creating a regional airframe depot capability here in Australia, and follows on from the significant depot activation planning work carried out to date.
“Our mechanical, avionics and structural technicians will be trained at the factory where the F-35 is designed and built. This training will ensure they have all the necessary skills to provide the very best support for the RAAF.
“These people are the foundation of our future depot maintenance workforce here at Williamtown. Three are qualified instructors and will train future staff as we ramp up our capability and capacity.”
Once the entire fleet of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets is delivered to the Australian Air Force, the company will support up to six dedicated F-35 maintenance bays that would employ approximately 100 people.