TAE Aerospace is set to build a new Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) to support in-country sustainment of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter jets.
To be constructed in Bundamba, south-east Queensland, the TEMF facility will support deeper-level maintenance of the aircraft’s turbine engines, where the F135 engine modules will be disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing.
According to Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, the new maintenance site will help strengthen the defence industry of the country in addition to supporting the global F-35 joint strike fighter programme.
Pyne said: “TAE Aerospace’s new facility will support maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) activities for not only Australian F135 engines but also engines from around the Asia Pacific region and the world.
“TAE Aerospace is 100% Australian-owned with 237 employees at several sites across Australia, with contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abram tank engines.
“The addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce and up to 85 additional jobs as part of the future F-35 Global Support Solution.”
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Currently, the Australian government has granted approval for the acquisition of 72 F-35A joint strike fighters, which would help replace the RAAF’s existing and ageing fleet of 71 F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.
Pyne added: “The global F-35 programme has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1bn in production contracts and will support up to 5,000 Australian jobs by 2023.”
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft is a fifth-generation fighter jet that combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility.