Australia has awarded BAE Systems Australia and Tasman Aviaton Enterprises (TAE) with MRO and upgrade work for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

“This follows the announcement by the US Department of Defense last December that Australia had been assigned regional support for the F-35,” says defence minister Kevin Andrews.

In December’s announcment, the Pentagon said that Australia and Japan would shoulder heavy airframe and engine maintenance for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II in the Asia-Pacific region beginning in 2018.

“With the F-35 global support system now being stood up and with our first aircraft due to arrive in Australia in 2018, the next few years will see more opportunities for Australian industry to support not only Australia’s F-35s but those in our region and around the globe,” Mr Andrews said.

“The assignment of regional maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade responsibility to BAE and TAE will enable them to demonstrate the capability and capacity of Australian industry to support this leading edge capability.”