As a key partner, BAE Systems holds a 13-15% workshare of each aircraft, excluding propulsion, and we play a major role in the program globally.
These aircraft will all be sustained and upgraded at the South Pacific Regional Sustainment Depot in Williamtown, Newcastle, which will also support F-35 aircraft from across the region. BAE Systems Australia also managing the Asia Pacific warehouse for the aircraft and maintain key F-35 components for the next three decades.
By 2025, BAE Systems Australia’s work on the F-35 program will support around 750 jobs directly and indirectly across Australia. BAE Systems will employ people across more than 30 skill sets, including airframe and component maintenance. Over time, this will support a potential 300 Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft across the Asia Pacific.
BAE Systems Australia also manufactures the aft fuselage and vertical and horizontal tails of every F-35 found around the world, parts of which are manufactured at our facility in Adelaide. The F-35 program offers extensive opportunities for Australian industry to sustain world leading aerospace capabilities.
Led by the US and with involvement from the Partner Nations including Australia, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and Norway, the global program will be valued in the trillions over its 40+ year life.
BAE Systems Australia is proud to be partnering with the RAAF, the Department of Defence, Lockheed Martin and Defence industry to contribute to highly skilled employment across Australian and to the growing engagement of local Australian businesses in the defence supply chain.
Economic contribution of the Hawk and F-35 support programs
This study by BIS Oxford Economics examines the economic contribution of BAE Systems’ support programs for two of Australia’s key aviation assets: the Hawk Lead-In Fighter and the F-35 fighter jet.
BAE Systems has built a local team of around 60 F-35 technicians, including 25 former Jetstar employees.
The F-35 is one of the most advanced aircraft in the world and BAE Systems technicians have undergone intensive training to acquire a range of complex technical skills, working with the RAAF and Lockheed Martin.
This expertise will be utilised to train future staff as capability and capacity increases, working side-by-side with RAAF colleagues at the Williamtown RAAF base and the South Pacific Regional Sustainment depot.
Australian industry capability
The F-35 program is also supported by a supply chain of more than 22 Australian businesses. This is set to grow to around 76 businesses by 2025, which will include 22 small to medium enterprises, five of which will be in the Hunter region.
Adelaide aerospace manufacturing and technology development company Toolcraft Australia, went from a general machine shop to being a future-focused leader in defence design, engineering and manufacturing while working with BAE Systems Australia on multiple projects including the global F-35 program.
Advancing the next generation
BAE Systems Australia is creating a capability pipeline to engage, inspire, develop and recruit the next generation to ensure that development of people and facilities in the Hunter region.
Sustaining the most technically advanced fighter jet on the planet will continue to create new jobs and employ people across regional Australia for decades to come.
BAE Systems Australia is collaborating with a range of local education institutions to engage students throughout their education on the importance of STEM and create opportunities for people in the region and Australia’s defence industry.