TAE Aerospace has announced that its F135 maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) facility in Australia has been activated.

This comes after the company achieved Initial Depot Capability (IDC) status to repair Pratt & Whitney F135 engine fan and power modules. The F135 is an afterburning turbofan that powers all three variants of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The construction of the facility, located in the state of Queensland, started in 2018. It is said to be the first operational F135 engine depot in the Asia-Pacific region.

TAE Aerospace achieved the module IDC milestone after rebuilding an F135 power module at the facility. Last year, the company secured fan module repair qualification.

The site will now provide maintenance support to all F-35 operators in the Asia-Pacific region under the F-35’s Global Support System.

Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Sustainment Operations vice-president O Sung Kwon said: “We congratulate the TAE Aerospace team on reaching this critical sustainment milestone for the F135 engine.

“The activation of the Australia depot will bring increased capacity to the global F135 MRO&U network in support of the growing fleet.

“Standing up the regional MRO&U depots is an integral part of the enterprise’s strategy to accelerate capacity growth across the F135 MRO&U network to exceed programme requirements.”

TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said: “The investment made by the Commonwealth of Australia and TAE Aerospace over the past five years will result in benefits for both Australia, with an important sovereign industrial capability now available in-country, as well as at the local level, with the creation of many jobs over the coming years.”