Australia scoops major F-35 component maintenance/repair win

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Australia has been chosen to provide maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade for components of the Joint Strike Fighter in the Asia Pacific Region.

CAPTIONA Royal Australian Air Force F-35A flies in formation with a US Air Force F-35  from Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, Arizona. Lockheed Martin photo by Matthew Short (digitally altered (removed F-16) by CONTACT)

The announcement could be worth approximately $100 million to the Australian economy and create or sustain hundreds of jobs.

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne made the announcement after a trip to Washington, where he met with key Pentagon officials to push Australia’s case.

“This is a major win for the nation’s defence industry,” Mr Pyne said.

“I welcome the United States government’s announcement that Australia is one of just four countries that will serve as regional hubs for the maintenance of the Joint Strike Fighter.

“This will be a real boon for Australia and proves, yet again, that our defence industry can equal, and in fact beat the best in the world when it comes to advanced manufacturing.

“While contracts need to be finalised, it is estimated that this initial work will be worth between $80 and $100 million AUD in today’s dollars and will create and sustain hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian jobs.

“This announcement today represents just 8 per cent of the total sustainment work that the US government will allocate over the next few years.

“It is clear that Australia will be in prime position to further expand as a regional maintenance hub and build on our local capability.”

Minister Pyne said the announcement meant that Australian industry would be responsible for deep maintenance of components of the Joint Strike Fighter.

“While countries operating the Joint Strike Fighter will look after the basic maintenance – like changing the tyres on a car – Australia will be responsible for much deeper, complex and high-value repair of the jets, similar to changing the timing belt or overhauling the engine.” Mr Pyne said, in an over-simplistic analogy.

“Partner countries in the JSF program were asked to bid in 11 component categories, and Australia, remarkably, was successful in 10.

“The Joint Strike Fighter programme has been lucrative for Australia to date, with Australian industry already achieving more than $800 million in contracts from F-35 design and production work.

“Today’s announcement is the next step in opportunities opening up a market for aircraft component repair, which will be part of the F-35 global-support supply chain and cements Australia as a key strategic partner in the global F-35 enterprise.

“Australian industry has further opportunities available in the F-35 Program with two additional F-35 Requests for Information recently issued to Australian companies for non-air-vehicle deeper-level repair components and regional warehousing.”

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Here’s a list of the companies successful in this latest announcement.

Components to be repaired Description Lead company Collaborators
Avionics (Group 1) Components including: Throttle grip, Pilot display BAE Systems Australia Raytheon, GE Aviation Systems Australia
Avionics (Group 2) Panoramic Cockpit Display, Power distribution controller BAE Systems Australia Northrop Grumman Australia, GE Aviation, Rockwell Collins Australia
Avionics (Group 3) Countermeasures control, radio tuner Northrop Grumman Australia BAE Systems Australia, Rockwell Collins Australia, GE Aviation
Aircraft structure Doors, panels, covers Northrop Grumman Australia Quickstep, BAE Systems Australia
Electric component 270V Battery, Brake control, Thermal Fan, Electrical Power Generator GE Aviation Systems Australia BAE Systems Australia
Refuelling valve Air-to-air refuelling valve RUAG H.I. Fraser
Auxiliary power system Components including: fuel metering pump RUAG TAE, H.I. Fraser
Hydraulic, Pneumatic, Pneudraulic, Hydro-Mechanical Flight controls, internal pumps RUAG
Landing gear Landing gear, wheel, brakes RUAG
Life Support System Onboard oxygen generator, Ejection seat assembly. BAE Systems Australia Martin Baker Australia

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor
Contact Publishing Pty Ltd

PO Box 3091 Minnamurra
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