The Royal Australian Air Force has awarded a joint contract to BAE Systems and L-3 MAS for long-term maintenance and support for its F/A-18 Hornet fighter.

The four-year contract can be extended till 2018 and is valued at about A$150m (US$117.1m).

BAE Systems Australia managing director Jim McDowell said the contract was a key in sustaining the fast jet support capability of the Royal Australian Air Force.

“Our investment in enhancing the skills of our technical workforce provides the basis for future support not only of the RAAF Hornet aircraft but also the Joint Strike Fighter that will eventually replace them,” McDowell said.

BAE Systems plans to build new facilities in Williamstown not only to support the F/A-18 but also the joint strike fighter (JSF) that will eventually replace it.