BAE Systems Australia has welcomed the announcement of a new F-35 Air Vehicle Support Services (AVSS) contract to establish sovereign maintenance and supply chain support for the Australian fleet at RAAF Bases Williamtown in NSW and Tindal in the NT.
“We are delighted to build on our contribution to the global F-35 program with this additional support for the RAAF,” BAE Systems Australia managing director Defence Delivery Andrew Gresham said.
“We will be leveraging our years of experience in fast jet sustainment working side by side with the RAAF to deliver aircraft availability and capability requirements.”
Maintaining and sustaining the global F-35 capability will create around 360 new direct jobs at BAE Systems Australia over the next 10 years and develop a specialist supply chain across Australia of more than 70 SMEs by 2025.
BAE Systems has provided fast jet maintenance and upgrades to RAAF aircraft from its Williamtown facility for almost three decades and employs nearly 460 people in the precinct.
The new AVSS contract will employ 46 BAE Systems Australia staff, providing direct, on-the-ground support to RAAF personnel sustaining the F-35. The company will have around 130 people working to support F-35 aircraft maintenance by the end of the year, having also recruited 25 former Jetstar technicians during the downturn in commercial aviation caused by COVID-19.
As a key partner and integral part of the industry team with Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems delivers up to 15 per cent of each fifth-generation aircraft globally. This includes the advanced manufacture of the aft fuselage, empennage and crucial components from BAE Systems’ facilities in the UK and Australia, and advanced electronic warfare capability from their US business. Parts of the vertical tail, corrosion prognostics and avionics are manufactured by BAE Systems in South Australia.