Australian Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo has broken ground on TAE Aerospace’s new Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) in Queensland.

Located in Bundamba, south-east Queensland, the latest turbine engine maintenance site will help support in-country sustainment of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jets.

Scheduled to commence operations from July, the TAE Aerospace facility will offer deeper-level maintenance support for the aircraft’s F135 turbine engines.

The Australian Defence Industry will serve as a major but not exclusive customer of the new facility.

With the opening of the TEMF, the company will support maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) activities for the Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, in addition to supporting existing Australian Defence Force capabilities.

“The new F135 engine MRO&U activities are expected to add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to the company’s Queensland workforce.”

Currently, TAE Aerospace holds contracts with the Australian Government to support the engines for the RAAF’s Classic Hornet, Super Hornet and Growler aircraft fleets, in addition to the M1 Abrams tanks used by the Australian Army.

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The wholly Australian-owned company has more than 245 employees working at different locations across the country, including 182 in Queensland.

Furthermore, the new F135 engine MRO&U activities are expected to add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to the company’s Queensland workforce.

The global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme has collectively been awarded more than A$1.2bn ($866.18m) in production contracts and will help support up to 5,000 job opportunities in Australia by 2023.

The government granted approval for the acquisition of 72 units of the F-35A JSFs, which would help replace the RAAF’s existing ageing fleet of 71 F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.