BAE Systems Australia and TAE have been selected to undertake regional maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) for the airframe and engine of F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter in the Southern Pacific region.
BAE will provide a heavy airframe maintenance and sustainment capability for the global JSF fleet from its facility in Williamtown, New South Wales, while TAE will provide MRO&U for the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine from early 2018.
In December 2014, Australia was selected by the US Department of Defense to perform F-35 heavy air frame MRO&U duties in the southern Pacific.
Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews said: "The assignment of regional maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade responsibility to BAE and TAE will enable them to demonstrate the capability and capacity of Australian industry to support this leading-edge capability."
BAE Systems Australia chief executive David Allott said: "Our proven fast jet aircraft maintenance capabilities in Williamtown, combined with our strong commitment to working collaboratively with Australian industry, ensure that the international JSF Partners and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers will have ready access to a strategically important, first-class Regional Depot."
TAE general manager Andrew Sanderson said: "We look forward to working with the Joint Program Office, Australia’s Defence Material Organisation and Pratt & Whitney over the coming years to establish this key sustainment capability at Amberley for this 5th generation fighter engine and expand our renowned level of quality customer service to this exciting new technology."
BAE, as the regional prime contractor, has committed to maximise Australian industry involvement, and also actively engage with small to medium-sized enterprises who have worked with the Australian Government through the JSF Australian Industry Involvement Programme.
To date, the Australian industry has won $433m in production and development contracts for the F-35 aircraft, which is being developed in three variants by Lockheed Martin, to perform an array of ground attack, reconnaissance, and air defence missions with stealth capability.
Japan will perform F-35 MRO&U duties in the northern Pacific, while Italy and Turkey were selected to perform similar duties in Europe.