Lockheed Martin has signed a Heads of Agreement with the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) for Australian F-35 Sovereign Sustainment Contracts.
The agreement will ensure the long-term sustainment of the country’s F-35A Lighting-II Joint Strike Fighter fleet.
It includes details about intellectual property, technical data and software arrangements with Lockheed Martin entities for direct sovereign sustainment contracts.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “The Heads of Agreement provides certainty and clarity to Australia by pre-agreeing the intellectual property, technical data and software contract provisions with Lockheed Martin Australia and Lockheed Martin Corporation for any sovereign sustainment contracts.
“This creates an environment where defence, should it decide to enter into new contracts with different companies for various services such as training, will be able to seek the intellectual property, technical data and software it needs through the US F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin.”
Highlighting the importance of the agreement, Australia Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo stated that a settled framework will help address the complexities associated with intellectual property, technical data and software under the global F-35 Programme.
Ciobo said: “The Heads of Agreement will minimise the time and effort taken by the Australian Government and Lockheed Martin in establishing any Australian sovereign sustainment contracts with local industry.”
Meanwhile, construction started on the Engine Test Cell upgrade at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley in South East Queensland to support the new F-35A JSF fleet and the existing Super Hornet engines.
The upgraded facility is expected to withstand the increased 43,000lb thrust of the new F135 engine.
Australia aims to become the F-35 JSF maintenance hub for the Asia-Pacific, Pyne noted.