Lockheed Martin Australia has signed a contract to streamline operational support for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The five-year A$91m ($62.58m) agreement with the Australian Department of Defence will focus on the efficient delivery of sustainment support for the country’s F-35A aircraft.

The idea behind this agreement is to consolidate the existing arrangements into one Australian-managed contract with Lockheed Martin Australia.

A strategic deed has also been signed that provides a contractual framework to ensure all F-35 sustainment contracts in Australia.

Under the framework, Lockheed Martin will work with local partners for the sovereign sustainment.

Under the Integration, Maintenance and Administration Services (IMAS) contract, Lockheed Martin Australia will deliver autonomic logistics information system (ALIS) support for the country’s F-35 programme.

The support will include administration services, mission combat system support and cyber accreditation.

The F-35A ALIS is an off-board information system turns data from multiple sources into actionable intelligence to empower pilots to make effective decisions.

It provides capabilities such as fault diagnosis, maintenance management, supply support, and mission planning and training management.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “This is a significant milestone towards achieving the initial operating capacity for the F-35A.

“It delivers a more responsive and cost-effective solution for key aspects of Australian F-35A maintenance management and will create up to 60 jobs in the Canberra, Adelaide, Hunter and Katherine regions.”

The IMAS contract will support 60 new skilled jobs cementing the centre as the core F-35 sustainment capability in the region.

Lockheed Martin Australia Interim Chief Executive Scott Thompson stated that the agreements will play a key role in delivering a sustainment capability to meet the RAAF’s fifth-generation needs.

Thompson said: “As the original equipment manufacturer and lead sustainment partner globally, we are proud to partner with the department of defence to lead sustainment support for the Australian F-35 programme.”

The company claimed that the value of contracts awarded under the Australian F-35 programme is likely to reach around A$5bn ($3.43bn) by the mid-2020s.