Friday 18th June marked a key date for the BAE Systems Williamtown site, as Senior Representatives from BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will provide Through Life Support for the F-35 ‘Lightning’ Joint Strike Fighter.

Mr. John Monaghan, Director Aerospace for BAE Systems, along with Dr. Bob Bolz V.P Global Industrial Integration signed the MoU in front of assembled guests and media.

Mr Monaghan said BAE Systems is ideally placed to provide support for the F-35 Lightning through its established capabilities at Williamtown where its 400 strong workforce already provides maintenance and through life support to the F/A-18 Hornet and Hawk Lead-In-Fighter fleets.

Mr Monaghan said that the Defence Materiel Organisation’s (DMO’s) New Air Combat Capability (NACC) project office had supported Lockheed Martin with identification of local industry capable of providing support. BAE have an established network of suppliers within the Hunter region and will be working with local companies to identify additional opportunities.

Mr. Tom Burbage, Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President for F-35 Program Integration, spoke of the partnership that had evolved and which will see BAE Systems established to support the RAAF’s ‘Lightning’s. The performance-based contract will allow the BAE facility to be stood up as a regional facility with the potential for additional MRO opportunities. Although contracts are some way off, Mr. Burbage spoke of the natural evolution as the project gains momentum, with decisions on repair venues for componentry being part of the ongoing process.

The first aircraft is due to arrive in 2017 with an Entry Into Service date of 2018.

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