First-of-kind F-35 sustainment contract signed in Australia

Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia reached an agreement last week to ensure the efficient delivery of sustainment support for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in Australia.

FILE PHOTO (July 2019): An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter from No.3 Squadron conducts instrument-landing-approach training at RAAF Base Richmond. Photo by Sergeant Christopher Dickson.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced the five-year $91 million agreement on 1 August, which will streamline operational support for Australia’s F-35A aircraft.

Minister Reynolds said the support agreement for the logistics system consolidated existing arrangements provided through the United States F-35 Joint Program Office into one Australian-managed contract with 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.”

Interim Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia Scott Thompson said the deal struck with the Australia government was a first-of-its-kind strategic agreement and a critical step in establishing a sustainment capability that will meet the Royal Australian Air Force’s 5th-generation needs.

“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,” Mr Thompson said.

“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.”

By the mid-2020s, the value of Australian F-35 contracts in place across production and sustainment is expected to be in the vicinity of $5 billion.

The F-35A Autonomic Logistics Information System is an off-board information system that provides fault diagnosis, maintenance management and supply support, as well as mission planning and training management.

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Brian Hartigan

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