Breaking ground on F-35 engine-maintenance facility

TAE Aerospace yesterday held an event to mark the start of construction on its new aerospace facility in Bundamba, Queensland.

The facility is the future home of the F135 Joint Strike Fighter engine maintenance program for the whole Asia Pacific region, as well as the company’s existing Defence and aerospace programs.

Leaders from Defence and industry were invited to help ‘break the ground’ at the new site, including the Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo, Pratt & Whitney’s Vice President of Military Engines Sustainment Operations Kevin Kirkpatrick, and Australia’s Head Joint Strike Fighter Air Vice-Marshal Leigh Gordon.

TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said the event marked a significant milestone in the company’s military-engine sustainment journey.

“It has been an exciting progression from our initial engineering support of the F-111 TF30 engine, to now preparing to provide full in-country support for the world’s most advanced and powerful jet fighter engine, the F135,” Mr Sanderson said.

“The start of construction on this facility marks the start of the next chapter for us as Australia’s aerospace company.”

“The new, state-of-the-art facility will be built and occupied in several phases between now and 2020.

“In May next year we will start preparing for the arrival of the F135 engine, with training commencing in July 2019.

“Then, from the start of 2020, we will move our existing business lines, including the F404 and F414 engines for the Hornet and Super Hornet and the AGT1500 engine for the Abrams’ tank, to Bundamba from our current headquarters in Amberley.

“We will also build a new advanced manufacturing facility to continue to supply parts and components to the global F-35 program,” he said.

TAE Aerospace has parts on the first Australian F-35s due to arrive next month and is one of only a few Australian companies selected to work across both sustainment and production.

Mr Sanderson said that the addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add at least 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce immediately, with that number expected to increase as work grows for operators in Australia, South Korea and Japan, as well as the US Forces based in the region.

“Once we have relocated, there will be 150 people on site contributing to the Ipswich community with a further 80 staff to join them in the coming years as work increases.

“For Australia to be chosen as Asia-Pacific’s hub of F135 engine maintenance work is a great outcome for our Defence industry and we’re proud to be the Australian company selected to carry out this work,” he said.

TAE Aerospace is a 100% Australian owned company with global operations and four sites throughout Australia.

 

RELATED STORY: Asia-Pacific JSF engine maintenance an Ipswich Masters stroke

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Brian Hartigan

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