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.”

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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

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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