Lockheed Martin will partner with BAE Systems Australia to provide readiness and sustainment support for the Australian F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) combat aircraft.

The agreement will provide future in-country support of the JSF fighter that follows the Australian Government’s approval to procure the first 14 of an expected 100 F-35 aircraft.

BAE will provide support for the F-35 at its facility at Williamtown, which currently provides maintenance and life support to the F/A-18 Hornet and Hawk lead-in-fighter fleets.

BAE Systems Australia director of aerospace John Monaghan said the firm would leverage its capability at Williamtown to reduce the transition risk and cost of introducing the F-35 aircraft into service in Australia from 2018.

Equipped with a powerful and comprehensive sensor and mission avionics, the F-35 is an advanced multirole fighter that can conduct air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions simultaneously.