Australia secures F-35 regional warehouse assignment

F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters A35-001 (closest) and A35-002 during the first trans-Pacific flight from Luke Air Force Base, USA to RAAF Base Amberley, Australia. (Defence)
F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters A35-001 (closest) and A35-002 during the first trans-Pacific flight from Luke Air Force Base, USA to RAAF Base Amberley, Australia. (Defence)

Australia has been assigned regional warehousing capability for the F-35 Lightning II in the Pacific by the US Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, the European warehousing capability has been assigned to the Netherlands.

The warehouse and distribution centres will enable the program to optimise and manage aviation inventory, the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) stated.

The first capabilities in Australia will be stood up by October 2020 to provide regional inventory management.

These assignments were made based on data compiled and analysed by the JPO that was collected from partner nations, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program customers and industry.

The Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) issued a request for information in September 2016, saying the US government was seeking information on Australian companies capable of establishing and operating a regional warehouse.

“Our mission is to deliver and sustain an affordable, capable and combat-ready F-35 weapon system that provides the US and international warfighters with a dominant battlefield advantage,” said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, F-35 program executive officer.

“To do that successfully, the US services and our allies need to have the right parts delivered at the right time, and having a solid warehousing plan helps to make it happen.”

Initial warehousing and repair technology category assignments do not preclude the opportunity for other partners and FMS customers, including those assigned initial airframe and engine capabilities, to participate and be assigned additional sustainment workload in the future, the JPO said.

Future assignments will be made for additional components, support equipment, full mission simulators, the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) and maintenance training devices.

Global warehousing data will be reviewed and updated as program needs dictate.


  1. says

    Good news for Aussie companies. Let’s just hope no more delays and cost overruns. Does anyone know about an additional 400 million cost overrun that has happened? Cheers.

  2. G4george says

    Queensland is the logical choice to warehouse these parts, around Amberley, no brainer really.

  3. Belly says

    G4george I fail to understand why you would house this at Amberley?? I get the RAAF Heavy Lift A/C are based there, but the F-35 for the RAAF will be based at Williamtown and Tindall, with maintenance done in Williamtown. Surely that makes that location the logical location to house this and keep RAAF costs down.

  4. deano says

    Please explain why its needed….
    Would it not be more logical and cost efficient to have parts stored where they are made and simply courier them within 24 hours anywhere in Australia ?

    Oh I get it
    More jobs for Aussies paid by the taxpayer, to sit in a warehouse and nurse multiple millions of dollars worth of parts, again paid for up front by the government (us) so that they can be couriered locally

  5. PAUL says

    Plenty of room in Oz whereas not so in Japan, bit risky there too with North Korean ICBMs cruising around towards Guam etc

  6. John N says

    More delays?

    There is no doubt that the F-35 program had significant problems, and delays too in the early days, but since the program was ‘rebaselined’ in 2011 it appears that pretty much everything is on track, on schedule. If there are delays today, it’s more likely to be measured in weeks and months, rather than years.

    As for the RAAF’s acquisition, that also appears to be well on track too, the first two have been in service since late 2014, the next 70 will be delivered starting next year, 2018, in batches through to 2023, and again, according to recent info from LM, the first of the next batch of airframes for the RAAF may be delivered a few months early, eg, late this year.

    Cost overrun? Additional $400m?

    That’s a real ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. Depends on how and what is being measured, and how and who will be affected too.

    Yes the USAF is deferring reaching ‘maximum’ production which will increase the program by a number of years, from 2038 until 2044. But for the RAAF, is that an issue??

    Defence (and the Australian Government), has budgeted for the ‘average’ cost to be approx US$90m for each of the RAAF’s 72 airframes, yes the earlier production airframes (the two from Lot 6 and eight from Lot 10) are above that price, but the later production airframes (especially the 45 airframes being delivered between 2020-2022 (Lots 12-14), are planned to be in the range of US$80-84m per airframe.

    It’s more than likely that the average cost of an airframe for the RAAF will be lower than the budgeted approx. US$90m.

    For the RAAF and many of the International partners and FMS purchases planned to happen prior to 2025, they will be in a period of high production, approx. 150 airframes per year in that period, so cost will be lower per airframe, what happens beyond that, especially in the latter years when yearly procurement is possibly lower, then yes prices per airframe could go back up.

    But so what? Does it matter what an F-35A, B or C will cost in the 2030’s and beyond? All of the RAAF’s airframes will have been delivered by end of 2023.


    John N

  7. B. Pika says

    A warehouse in the Netherlands? Is this economical a good decision? They only ordered 37 F-35. Is a warehouse in Great Britain (138 F-35) or Italy(90 F-35) not a better solution. Think about the packing- and transport cost!

  8. the road runner says

    You would assume Willy for the win ! That’s a big win for Australia …having spares in country !

  9. Harry says

    Sorry Belly I agree w/ G4george. While the training squadron will be based in Newcastle, most defence aviation centres, for the various aircraft from army and airforce, are based at Amberley and thus most defence aviation industry is based around Amberley. Amberley is one our biggest air bases. Its only logical. But will the Govt. be logical about this? Already three brisbane-based business already work on the F-35 program, developing certain parts. It’s also a lot more economical location to choose re: land and logistics.

  10. says

    John N, weeks and months have turned into years a lot of the times. John ,you say ACCORDING! to LM , we have heard this quite a lot the last 18 years.The USAF deferring might be an issue? I would probably think so.Any deferred purchase would be.. LM promised the jets would be 40-50 million max! We hope all jets will be delivered by 2023. People dismiss what Pierre Sprey says, well to all you people out there and on this forum, do you have the qualifications to argue with him? If you guys have designed a jet that has sold more than 4000 of them, then I will listen to you. No offence guys, there is always two sides to a story. Cheers.

  11. Gary says

    Harry and G4george – there are also 3 and 77 Squadrons who will be operating the F35 at WLM in addition to 2OCU that would be approximately 85 percent of the fleet at WLM. If you are talking land/logistics why not Outer Western Sydney close to Sydney West Airport? Why not in the industrial area around Tullamarine? For that matter, why not the recently vacated auto plants in Melbourne or Adelaide! Three companies already produce components for the F35; however, as the program moves ahead, what if more non SE QLD companies obtain contracts?

  12. Raymond says

    Paul – you say: People dismiss what Pierre Sprey says, well to all you people out there and on this forum, do you have the qualifications to argue with him?

    I say: Maybe we don’t, but we listen to those that do, such as Lt Col David Berke. He absolutely trounced Sprey. By the way, do you have the qualifications yourself?

  13. Harry says

    Hi Gary, I am not sure your asking me why? I am not in management lol but Ill try to answer…

    Western Sydney – Isn’t Richmond closing?; exorbitant land, bad logistics re: traffic ad infinitum
    WLM – training and squadron base but a very cramped base w/ also commercial flights etc. I am very curious as to why the majority of the fleet will be based from there… not the greatest choice of location but…

    Amberley – Many defence aerospace industry businesses, including 3 x F-35 parts manufactures; lands cheaper than Sydney and closer to Asia; will also have an F-35 squadron at Amberley in the future.

    Amberley is the logical choice,… but who ever said defence or the government are always 100% logical. I mean look at the tiger decision. Or for example basing the amphibious squadron in Brisbane but the LHDs in Sydney. So maybe one of those other places you mentioned Gary will be selected. That doesn’t mean it will be the best decision,… probably have a little to do w/ pork-barreling…

    Also I think the auto plants will in Melbs or Adelaide will be used to build the next Bushmasters, the Hawkeyes, the Land 400 ASLAV replacements, no?

    I hope that answers all your why questions Gary

  14. says

    Raymond, of course I don’t I never said I did. The LT. Col doesn’t have the qualifications as an aircraft desingner as well. I listen to both for and against, not just one side Raymond. Cheers

  15. Greg says

    To Paul re Pierre Sprey – please explain exactly which jet Pierre Sprey is supposed to have designed. Please don’t say F-16 since the myth that he was involved in the design of F-16 was just that, a myth! The fact that he (and others) continue to repeat this is criminal.

  16. John N says


    Maybe you should go back and read what I actually wrote, ok?

    And that was, yes the F-35 program ‘had’ significant problems and delays, BUT since the program was ‘rebaselined’ in 2011 it appears that pretty much everything is on track, on schedule.

    And I also said that TODAY, delays are more likely to be measured in weeks and months, rather than years. You are suggesting that ‘weeks and months’ can turn into years, if you have some evidence that potential FUTURE delays are going to turn into years, can you please give examples or evidence?

    But lets be clear, there are potentially ‘two’ types of future program delays (and this applies to all aircraft development and manufacture), one is development of the actual aircraft itself, and the other is the various air forces delaying or spreading out their purchase of airframes (for all the internal reasons that occurs in making those decisions).

    And why wouldn’t all of the 72 approved RAAF F-35A’s not be delivered by 2023? Why? Again, do you have any evidence or information that this is not going to happen?

    You said: “We hope all jets will be delivered by 2023”, do you have any evidence this not going to happen?

    According to what Defence has been saying for a long time, the number of airframes for the RAAF per production lot is planned and scheduled.

    The first two from Lot 6 have been delivered (2014), the next eight from Lot 10 are in production (delivery 2018, the first possibly early by end 2017), they will be followed by eight from Lot 11 (2019), 15 from Lot 12 (2020), 15 from Lot 13 (2021), 15 from Lot 14 (2022) and the final nine from Lot 15 (delivery 2023), again, do you have any evidence that this won’t happen?

    As for Pierre Sprey, well you are more than welcome to cite him as being the authority that he claims to be (go for your life), and when you said “designed a jet that has sold more than 4000 of them”, are you seriously suggesting that was Pierre Sprey? Designed the F-16? Seriously?

    Can I suggest you do a little more research of who and what he actually is, ok?


    John N

  17. Harry says

    If Pierre Sprey had anything to do with the design of the A-10 or F-16 it was with designing the criteria behind the aircraft; that is to say the benchmarks that analysts configure to place a minimum mission requirement on aircraft. He by no means designed the aircraft from an engineering or avionics or aerodynamic aspect. He definitely would have been involved in collating US pilots insights into what produces a good aircraft in any specific role and then including the conclusions of such a data analysis into the specific mission requirements or benchmarks that any aircraft design must meet to meet the mustard of US combat aircraft necessities.

  18. says

    John N, yes John I did read what you said ok! I didn’t know you new there were delays by weeks or months, can you let us know how you knew this? Most delays have led to years John , so just do some research on this. I am tired of hearing these promises about when things are going to happen and what not. I heard that we would stand up our first squadron by now , and that was promised after 2011. What I meant to say was what Harry said( my mistake sorry) Can you really design a stealth jet that costs 80-90 million for 3 different services that covers so many roles? Do I have any evidence that all our jets won’t be delivered by 2023? One would think going through the whole program since it’s birth , that nothing really has been on the money. Yes I know programs have troubles, but this one especially and even worse , the amount of money gone into it is horrendous. Imagine what they could have bought with that money!! The mind boggles.

  19. Raymond says

    Paul, it is often the same story with a new capability that radicalises war fighting. They then usually prove to be a game changer that lasts the test of time and serves many, many years with distinction.

    You ask imagine what could have been bought with the money? It purchases our freedom – your freedom. Our safety – your safety. Our security – your security. Can you put a price on that?

  20. says

    Raymond, you say it purchases my security, your security etc. I am pretty sure the C-17 , Rhino, classics , KC-30 , Wedgetail , P-8 , Hawk etc are doing that in spades as well. As I have said on thousands of occasions, I will wait and see. I read for and against, not just for. Cheers.

  21. Raymond says

    F-35 lots from now on will provide outstanding cost-to-capability value, including when comparing the F-35 to its competitors on just cost alone.