• With combined US and allied forces, by the year 2035, the F-35 will have a permanent presence of 300+ in the Indo-Pacific. (Lockheed Martin)
    With combined US and allied forces, by the year 2035, the F-35 will have a permanent presence of 300+ in the Indo-Pacific. (Lockheed Martin)

Updated 16/1 0928

Lockheed Martin has awarded a contract worth over A$1.6 million to BAE Systems Australia to establish a regional warehouse to sustain F-35s. The warehouse is co-located with Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Williamtown in New South Wales and is intended to store replenishment spares for F-35 operations in Australia and the Indo-Pacific. 

Housing critical parts of the Joint Strike Fighter, the warehouse is the third facility in the global support solution for the F-35 program, for which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor, with locations already in the Netherlands and United States. 

In addition to maintaining RAAF F-35 aircraft, the facility will support F-35 variants operating in the region. This includes aircraft operating out of the Singapore, Japan and South Korea, from US Navy and Royal Navy carrier aircraft and US Marine Corps F-35Bs deployed in the region.

“The establishment of a regional warehousing and distribution network for the Indo-Pacific will increase F-35 operational resilience for Australia and regional F-35 operators, including US forces deployed in the Indo-Pacific,” Warren McDonald, Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive said. “The regional warehouse will create approximately 20 immediate jobs as part of a growth path to more than 500 long-term F-35 sustainment jobs in future years.” 

“This contract is an integral part of building fighter jet sovereign capability within Australia and I am delighted we are able to expand our current contribution to the F-35 program," Andrew Gresham, BAE Systems Australia, Managing Director for Defence Delivery added.

“For 30 years, we have provided maintenance and upgrades to the Royal Australian Air Force jets and the inclusion of the Asia-Pacific Regional Warehouse not only increases Australia’s global defence footprint, it cements Williamtown as an aerospace hub. 

“This means more local jobs within the Hunter Region for years to come.”

To date, over $3 billion in F-35 production and sustainment contracts have been secured by more than 70 Australian firms, which Lockheed Martin forecasts to increase several-fold during the life of the program.

As the F-35 original equipment manufacturer and sustainment prime, Lockheed Martin uses advanced data analytics to optimise readiness of F-35 fleets across the globe, the company explains. This ensures the appropriate spares holdings are kept at the various warehouses across the F-35 logistics network in response to 'changing operational priorities and tempo'. 

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