BAE Systems Australia and TAE have been selected to undertake maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade work for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in Australia.
Heavy maintenance and sustainment capability work for the global F-35 fleet in the Southern Pacific region would be undertaken at BAE’s facility at RAAF Williamtown near Newcastle.
Meanwhile, TAE would service the JSF’s Pratt & Whitney F135 engines from its facility at RAAF Base Amberley.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews made the contract announcements on Tuesday.
The Pentagon said in January Australia would be the regional hub for heavy maintenance for the JSF for the Southern Pacific, with Japan to take responsibility for the fleet in the Northern Pacific region.
Both countries were expected to be able to provide initial airframe heavy maintenance capabilities by 2018.
For F-35 heavy engine maintenance, an initial capability would be provided in Australia by early 2018, with Japan to follow by 2023.
“The F-35 is the most advanced fighter aircraft in development or production anywhere in the world and securing this work in Australia is a great outcome for these companies,” Andrews said in a statement.
“This announcement comes on top of the US$433 million that Australian companies have won in production and development contracts to date.
“It represents another positive economic benefit of Australia’s participation in the F-35 program.”
To date, Australia, Japan and South Korea were the only nations in the region to have ordered the F-35, although an eventual order from Singapore was expected.
Additionally, US Marine Corps F-35Bs, US Navy F-35Cs and US Air Force F-35As were likely to figure prominently in the region from early next decade, and those forward deployed units would also require maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade support.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive David Allott said the selection represented a “substantial scope of work” for his company.