Next milestones in Australia’s F-35 program

The first F-35A
aircraft has been inducted into BAE Systems Australia’s (BAESA) maintenance
depot as part of the next major milestone in the Joint Strike Fighter Program.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the F-35A
fleet was now 33 strong and ready to deploy on operations.

“This is about protecting and securing
Australia’s interests but it’s also creating jobs and driving investment right
here in the Hunter and across the country too,” the Prime Minister said.

“This induction demonstrates the world leading
capability of our local defence industry here in Australia.

“We want to give as many opportunities to
Australian companies as possible which is why there’s already more than 50
local companies sharing in $2.7 billion worth of contracts as part of the F-35

“As we recover from the COVID recession a key
plank of our Economic Recovery Plan is our $270 billion investment in Defence
capability over the next decade and our $65 billion commitment in air
capabilities which includes the Joint Strike Fighter Program. This investment
is keeping Australians safe and secure while creating more jobs and more
opportunities for businesses.”

After being selected as the maintenance,
repair, overhaul and upgrade depot for the Southeast Asia region, the BAESA
facility will host Australian F-35A aircraft and in future other nations’ F-35

The Program is progressing on budget and on
schedule and the aircraft is undergoing routine structural modifications to
improve the airframe, ensuring it reaches full life, and align it with newer

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds CSC said
up to four Australian F-35A aircraft were expected to undergo routine
maintenance at BAESA’s facility this year, demonstrating the significant boost
the Program was having on the local Hunter economy.

“The Morrison Government is unashamedly
committed to building a robust sovereign defence industry,” Minister Reynolds

“We are building our sovereign defence
capabilities. We now have 41 fully trained RAAF pilots, nine of whom trained on
home soil at RAAF Base Williamtown. We also have more than 225 trained
technicians as the RAAF’s F-35A maintenance capability continues to develop.”

This progress is being supported through the
sovereign Training Support Services contract awarded to Lockheed Martin
Australia, worth approximately $70 million. It will see more than 70 personnel
employed at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal.

“This demonstrates the extraordinary
opportunities this program is providing for Australians and the economy,
especially as it continues to bounce back from COVID-19,” Minister Reynolds

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price
said the program had helped the people of the Hunter region weather the impact
of the economic impact of the pandemic.

“In 2020, job losses in the aeronautics
industry due to COVID-19 resulted in the closure of Jetstar’s aircraft
maintenance facility here in Newcastle, and many other regional facilities,”
Minister Price said.

“BAESA recently hired 25 former Jetstar
employees who had been made redundant as a result of the pandemic.

“Not only have these technical workers been
retained in the local Hunter aviation industry, but they will also help Defence
build its sovereign sustainment capability as the fleet continues to grow.”

More information about the F-35A Lightning II
is available at: and

Source: Thanks