Lockheed Martin Australia and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have signed a Strategic Deed and an Integration, Maintenance and Administration Services (IMAS) contract to provide sovereign sustainment of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fleet of F-35 Lightning II fighters.
The agreements covered an initial five-year period, Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said in a joint statement on Thursday.
The signing consolidates existing autonomic logistics information system (ALIS) support arrangements that were previously facilitated by the United States F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO), and will bring them under a contract managed directly between the ADF and Lockheed Martin Australia.
“This is a significant milestone towards achieving initial operating capacity for the F-35A,” Senator Reynolds said.
“It delivers a more responsive and cost-effective solution for key aspects of Australian F-35A maintenance management, and will create up to 60 jobs, in the Canberra, Adelaide, Hunter and Katherine regions.”
The Strategic Deed follows on from a heads of agreement signed in February, and is the first of its kind to be signed by the Commonwealth. It provides a contractual framework that will underpin all subsequent F-35 sustainment contracts in Australia.
The IMAS contract is the first contract to be signed under the Strategic Deed, and appoints Lockheed Martin Australia to deliver ALIS support including administration services, mission combat system support and cyber accreditation for Australia’s F-35 program.
“As the original equipment manufacturer and lead sustainment partner globally, we are proud to partner with the Department of Defence to lead sustainment support for the Australian F-35 program,” Lockheed Martin Australia interim chief executive Scott Thompson said in a separate statement.
“Our new contracts with the Department of Defence are an important step in developing 5th Generation sovereign capability, providing opportunity for potentially billions of dollars’ worth of new sustainment contracts for local industry.”
RAAF Base Williamtown received its third and fourth F-35A Joint Strike Fighters in April. Six more were expected to arrive by the end of calendar 2019.