Asian Press Group banner 728x90The Hunter Valley’s future as the Indo-Pacific hub for sustainment of F-35 Lightning II aircraft has been secured after the Australian government doubled its initial investment with BAE Systems Australia. The government last month signed stage two of a facility services deed with BAE Systems Australia worth $110 million, which is in addition to its initial first stage commitment of $100 million announced last year.​

The funding boost will enable BAE Systems Australia to build seven more maintenance bays to increase overall capacity to 13 bays to help service the growing F-35 fleet in the Indo-Pacific. This means Newcastle Airport will be equipped to service Australia’s F-35A Lightning II fleet and could potentially be used by other nations to sustain and service a global F-35 fleet that’s expected to reach more than 3,000 aircraft.

This latest announcement comes after the government signed the first facility services deed with BAE Systems Australia in November 2022 to build four new F-35 maintenance bays at BAE Systems Australia’s South Hangar, Newcastle Airport. Sixty-three of Australia’s 72 F-35A Lightning II aircraft have been accepted to date. All 72 of Australia’s F-35A aircraft, based in RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, will be sustained and upgraded at the Hunter facility.

Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy said: “This contract extension more than doubles our initial investment in the F-35 sustainment hub at Williamtown and underscores the Albanese Government’s commitment to growing our defence industry. Crucially, this contract secures jobs for people across the Hunter and nationally for decades to come. It also ensures the Hunter Valley’s future as a hub for the sustainment of Australian aircraft, and potentially from other nations. The Albanese Government is continuing to invest in Australian industry, with more than 50% of acquisition and sustainment spent in Australia this financial year – a record number. Australian defence industry is already a vital contributor of maintenance and sustainment services for the global F-35 fleet, which is expected to reach more than 3,000 aircraft. Establishing the Hunter as an Indo-Pacific hub for F-35 repair and maintenance is a testament to the high level of skills and knowledge among our defence industry workforce.”


For Editorial Inquiries Contact:
Editor Kym Bergmann at

For Advertising Inquiries Contact:
Director of Sales Graham Joss at

Previous articleVegvisir deploys situational awareness system to Ukraine
Next articleEmbraer signs follow-on support deal with Hellenic Air Force


  1. Excellent News for the Hunter Valley Region, investment in Australia’s Industrial Base is what this Government has been promising for the start but more needs to be done. A record of 50% Acquisition and Sustainment spent in Australia is not something to be proud off (though it’s a step in the right direction) it needs to be around 75 or 80% with the goal of 90% (Is a 100% realistic ). The Gift of $4.7 million to the U.S. would be better spent on Australian Industry and that is just the tip of the iceberg, how much more of Taxpayers money is going to the U.S. and Foreign industry that can be spent here. A good cost savings exercise would be to get a Defence Minister that actually knew what he was doing.

    • It’s $4.7 billion, not million – and it makes no sense to me whatsoever. In the extremely unlikely event that we ever receive second hand Virginia class submarines they will spend their lives tied up somewhere. Even the US with its huge industrial base and established nuclear power industry is really struggling to keep enough SSNs at sea, so what hope do we have with almost no submarine building capacity? The moment a pump or valve malfunctions it will need to be ordered from the US and everyone here will be sitting around twiddling their thumbs hoping that something will eventually arrive. The people make decisions about AUKUS – politicians and the military – seem clueless when it comes to understanding issues of industrial capacity.

      • Yes Kim it is Billion, a slip of the pen, you are dead right about the decision making processes in Government, it all sounds amazing that the ADF is getting a brand new piece of kit, then reality sets in, it will be 10 to 20 years before we actually get them, they will be reliant on over seas supply chains for ammunition and maintenance, we won’t actually have enough people to crew them, we can’t move them around much because they’re to heavy for our infrastructure, the list goes on and on. For some bizarre reason CASG and DoD have an in built aversion to equipping our Defence Forces with home grown Equipment (apart from the usual consumables) and when they do, they usually manage to muck it up somehow.

  2. Thanks Kym, for a ‘good news’ story on the Hunter region and F-35 program. The ability to maintain a credible defence capability does depend on local support. Correct on the aspect of ‘what happens when the pumps and valves’, let alone the software driving the backbone of the combat systems on a Sub or any defence asset does malfunction or become unserviceable. Early days in Defence Industry Development trying to get local companiies to support the FFGs when some hardware was deemed ‘disposable’ was also a lesson, in the US protecting their Industry. Politicians and Defence Staff need to be aware that local support and a training pipeline is required to maintain a capability.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here