Australian Government signed a sovereign F-35 Training Support Services contract with Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) under the global F-35A Program.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds welcomed the win for Australian defence industry, in what is another example of a unique Australian sustainment contract.
“Over a term of up to five years, this contract is valued at up to $100 million and will see more than 70 people from Australian industry locally employed at RAAF [Royal Australian Air Force] Bases Williamtown and Tindal,” Minister Reynolds said. “The agreement includes the operation and maintenance support for six F-35A Full Mission Simulators at RAAF Base Williamtown. There are plans to install four more simulators at RAAF Base Tindal in 2021, which would also be included under the support arrangements. The simulators at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal have the ability to be networked together and share mission data to greatly enhance training.”
This milestone coincides with the RAAF’s withdrawal from pilot training arrangements at Luke Air Force Base in the United States, bringing training arrangements back to Australia.
Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said Defence had already trained nine Australian pilots in the existing four simulators at the RAAF Base Williamtown Integrated Training Centre during 2020.
Minister Price said this had coincided with Defence also delivering training to maintenance and support experts.
“Training has been delivered to more than 350 maintenance and support personnel in the Integrated Training Centre to date,” Minister Price said. “This agreement will see Australian industry training RAAF pilots and maintainers to operate and maintain Australia’s F-35A to their fullest capability. With the six simulators in place by end 2020, all initial Australian F-35A pilot training will occur through the RAAF Base Williamtown Integrated Training Centre.”