• The recent signing of BAE Systems Australia at Newcastle’s Astra Aerolab. (Supplied)
    The recent signing of BAE Systems Australia at Newcastle’s Astra Aerolab. (Supplied)

BAE Systems Australia has secured a pre-commitment to expand its presence at Newcastle Airport’s Defence estate, 'showing confidence in Astra Aerolab and the Defence and Aerospace industry at Williamtown'.

BAE Systems, which employs around 5,000 people across Australia, has signed a 34-year extension on its current lease at Newcastle Airport and has also entered into a new pre-commitment for up to 4.4 hectares of land on Astra Aerolab – a Defence and Aerospace precinct which offers airside access to RAAF Williamtown and Newcastle Airport.

The agreement sees Astra Aerolab providing a full range of property services, including future development of facilities on the pre-commitment land.

Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said BAE Systems’ commitment and expansion at Astra Aerolab will propel the development of the aerospace precinct.

“As Australia’s premier fast jet base, RAAF Base Williamtown is home to a vast majority of Australia’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters," he said. "BAE Systems Australia plays a key sustainment role in the Asia Pacific region for the F-35 program and as such is looking to increase its presence and resources at Williamtown.

“This new footprint will allow the development of a bespoke facility adjacent to its current site that will see a significant expansion of BAE Systems’ world-class local workforce.

“Their commitment to a future presence at Astra Aerolab is an important step in ensuring we continue to deliver on our promise of being uplifting by building a thriving, world leading defence and aerospace ecosystem at Williamtown."

BAE Systems Australia’s Managing Director of Defence Delivery, Andrew Gresham, added that BAE Systems is delivering significant support for Australia’s F-35 fleet and this offers extensive opportunities for Australian industry.

“Astra Aerolab will facilitate the continued development of our capabilities and resources in support of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter," Gresham said. "There is an exciting future ahead for Williamtown.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole reflected on what the signing means for the region.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for the Williamtown Special Activation Precinct," he said. "It shows the confidence major players like Newcastle Airport and BAE Systems have in our vision to drive investment in regional NSW, generate more and better paying jobs and help to create a world-class defence and aerospace hub.”

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