The NSW government has said Williamtown will become a Special Activation Precinct with an increase in jobs and economic activity due to the increase in support for the F-35 fighters there at the RAAF William base. BAE Systems Australia, one of the main contractors at the base there, said its Williamtown facility has for more than two decades supported the RAAF in the upgrade and maintenance of the Hawk jet trainer aircraft, of which the Australian Hawk Mk127 fleet is an integral part of the fast-jet training system that has enabled the RAAF to graduate trained aircrew for life in the cockpits of combat aircraft including F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers.

BAE Systems is now also supporting the Air Force’s growing fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. F-35 sustainment activities will see about 400 jobs created over the next 10 years and remain at this level over the 30-plus year contract, BAE Systems said.

BAE Systems Australia Director Aircraft Sustainment and Training, Andrew Chapman said the move “supports Williamtown becoming a pre-eminent aviation, defence and aerospace-related manufacturing hub. Our company has invested heavily in the development of bespoke aerospace capabilities, developing our people and supporting our supply chain to ensure the RAAF has the capability it needs. Now more than ever government and industry collaboration is needed to build on the foundations established in the region to support sustainable growth in the Hunter Valley.”

BAE Systems Australia has a workforce of around 4,500 people at more than 25 locations across Australia.

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