Australia is a key member of the F-35 global enterprise and as the arrival of the first squadron approaches, the country is building the appropriate infrastructure at Williamtown and Tyndall Airbases and shaping the support structure in country.
According to an article in the Australian Defence Magazine published on August 31, 2018, the standing up of a new facility in Queensland was highlighted.
TAE Aerospace will develop a turbine engine maintenance facility in Bundamba, south-east Queensland, which will support in-country sustainment of Australia’s fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets.
The facility will enable deeper-level maintenance, where engine modules are disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the new facility is a testament to the strength of Australia’s defence industry and the its contribution to the global F-35 Program.
“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,” Minister Pyne said.
“TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent 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.”
The ADF is acquiring 72 F-35A JSF aircraft to replace the current fleet of 71 ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.
Australia’s first two Australian F-35s, AU-1 and AU-2, are expected to arrive in Australia in December, and Lockheed Martin plans to deliver the next eight Australian aircraft, AU-3 to AU-10, to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona this year. The aircraft will then be delivered to Australia in pairs and are expected to achieve initial operating capability in 2020.
Australia will also be home to the F-35 South Pacific Regional Warehouse, operated by BAE Systems at RAAF Base Williamtown. Ejection seat manufacturer Martin Baker has also set up at Williamtown in advance of the F-35 arrival.
“The global F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1 billion in production contracts and will support up to 5000 Australian jobs by 2023,” Minister Pyne added.