BAE Systems Australia plays a vital role in the global sustainment of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft — the world’s most advanced fighter jet.
We sustain the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fleet of F-35 fighter jets. By 2024, the RAAF will have 72 of these aircraft.
As a key partner in F-35 sustainment, we hold up to a 15% workshare in each aircraft, excluding propulsion systems. The F-35 fleet is maintained and upgraded at our South Pacific Regional Sustainment Depot in Williamtown, near Newcastle, New South Wales (NSW).
We play a major role in the global F-35 sustainment program through an Asia–Pacific warehouse, which will support up to 300 F-35s across the region. This warehouse will maintain key aircraft components until at least 2050.
We manufacture the aft fuselage and vertical and horizontal stabilisers for every F-35 produced at one of our sites in Adelaide.
F-35 supply chain
The F-35 program is supported by a supply chain of more than 20 Australian businesses. This is set to grow to more than 75 companies by 2025 including 22 small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).
We are committed to increasing engagement with local business and will engage with five SMEs based in NSW’s Hunter Valley region.
Adelaide-based aerospace company Toolcraft Australia went from a general machine shop to a future-focused leader in defence design, engineering and manufacturing while working with us on multiple projects including the F-35 program.
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We have 60 F-35 avionics and aviation technicians who work alongside air force and Lockheed Martin colleagues at RAAF Base Williamtown and the South Pacific Regional Sustainment depot.
Working on one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, our technicians have completed intensive training to acquire a range of complex technical skills. The team’s expertise will be utilised to train future employees as capability and capacity increase.
By 2025, our work in the F-35 program could require up to 750 jobs across 30 different skill sets in Australia and other countries.
We're creating a capability pipeline to engage, inspire, develop and recruit the next generation workforce to ensure the people and facilities in the Hunter Valley region are continually developed.
We support organisations and activities that encourage young people to study STEM and provide early career opportunities such as work experience, internships, apprenticeships and graduate roles.