New Joint Strike Fighter maintenance facility in Queensland

F-35 Lightning II Source: Lockheed Martin

The department of defence has announced plans by TAE Aerospace to develop a Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) in Bundamba, south-east Queensland, which will support in-country sustainment of Australia’s fifth-generation F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft.

The TEMF will enable deeper-level maintenance, where JSF F135 engine modules are disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing.

Defence minister, Christopher Pyne, said the new facility will support maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade activities for the Australian F135 engines, as well as engines from around the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

“TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent Australian-owned with 237 employees at several sites across Australia, with contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abram tank engines.

“The addition of the F135 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade activities will add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce and up to 85 additional jobs as part of the future F-35 Global Support Solution,” Minister Pyne said.

The Australian F-35A Project, also known as AIR6000 Phase 2A/2B, is introducing a fifth generation air combat capability to meet Australia’s air combat needs beyond 2030.

Australia’s F-35A will fulfill the functions of air dominance and strike capability currently provided by F/A-18A/B Hornets.

“The global F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1 billion in production contracts and will support up to 5000 Australian jobs by 2023,” Minister Pyne said.

In the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Government confirmed that it plans to equip the Air Force with 72 F-35A aircraft by 2023, to meet  Final Operating Capability.

The Australian F-35A Project is on track to meet Initial Operating Capability in December 2020.