Lockheed Martin
Royal Australian Air Force F-35A

Lockheed Funds F-35 Sustainment Depot in Australia

Jan. 24, 2023
The OEM issued a contract to BAE Systems Australia to support development of a regional warehouse for F-35 sustainment, ahead of planned regional expansion for the RAAF and allies’ Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Lockheed Martin assigned an estimated $1.13-million (AU$1.6 million) contract to BAE Systems Australia to establish a regional warehouse supporting F-35 Joint-Strike Fighter jets in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region replenishment spares. The warehouse is to be co-located with Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown in New South Wales (on Australia’s east coast), where the RAAF’s F-35 fleet is housed.

The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is a single-engine, Stealth-enabled aircraft designed for deployment for ground attack and combat, and available in three variants. The RAAF operates the F-35A, for conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL), with 50 jets already delivered among a total order of 72 aircraft.

According to Lockheed, Australia, the U.S., and other allied forces will have more than 300 F-35 aircraft based in the Indo-Pacific region by 2035.

“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 U.S. forces deployed in the Indo-Pacific,” stated Warren McDonald, Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive.

McDonald added that the Australian warehouse will create approximately 20 jobs immediately, but may grow to as many as 500 jobs for F-35 sustainment services over the long-term.

Australia is among the largest partner nations in the F-35 program. It also has a significant role in the manufacturing supply chain for the F-35s, with production and sustainment contracts to over 70 Australian firms having been issued. These are valued at more than AU$3 billion ($2.1 billion), according to Lockheed Martin.