Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Feb 2017 Contents the RAAF’s BAE Hawk 127 Lead-In Fighter Trainer
(LIFT) at its Williamtown facility since 1999, has now
gone on to a performance-based contract with the
Today, BAE is in the midst of carrying out an upgrade
program on the Hawks under Project AIR 5438, with
one of the objectives being to improve the type’s
compatibility to conduct F-35 training with upgrades
to the aircraft mission computer, cockpit displays and
sensor fusion capabilities. In addition, it is also carrying
out deeper maintenance on the Hawks from one of two
company hangars at Williamtown.
From late 2018, this hangar will be converted for
F-35 use, with Hawk activities being moved to the
second hangar on the site, which will be expanded.
The F-35 hangar will see some areas repurposed to
put in the required secure facilities to comply with the
data and security protocols of the F-35’s Autonomic
Logistics Information System (ALIS).
The company has secured a significant amount
of F-35 sustainment work that has been assigned
so far, being selected in 2015 to be the South
Pacific regional airframe depot for the program, with
initial capability expected to occur in 2018. Under
this contract, BAE will provide a heavy airframe
maintenance and sustainment capability for the global
JSF fleet in the Southern Pacific region.
Although this will only apply to Australia’s F-35s at
the moment, there have been suggestions that South
Korea may dislike the idea of sending their aircraft to
Japan, the designated North Pacific airframe depot,
for political and historical reasons and that could open
the door to Australia even accounting to the distance
between the two countries.
The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) subsequently
announced in November 2016 that Australian industry
partners won ten out of eleven categories of F-35 Tier
1 repair and maintenance assignments, comprising of
65 repairable items in the eleven categories of which
64 will be assigned to Australian companies.
BAE Systems Australia was selected for lead
responsibility within the Pacific Region in three of
those categories, made up of two Avionics Groups that
includes throttle grips, pilot displays and panoramic
cockpit displays, and one Life Support Group for
Onboard Oxygen Generator components.
Sustainment of the Life Support Group components
is due to begin in 2021, with the Avionics Group
Components to follow in 2025. BAE will lead
Raytheon, GE Aviation Systems Australia, Northrop
Grumman Australia and Rockwell Collins Australia in
the Avionics Groups and Martin-Baker Australia for the
Life Support Group.
BAE’s F-35 Campaign Manager Andrew Gresham
envisages a common user facility at Williamtown
equipped with specialised test equipment to carry out
diagnostics and testing on components onsite. Faulty
equipment will be pulled off the aircraft for repair, either
by BAE or its partners, at Williamtown or elsewhere in
Australia and sent back to Williamtown for testing then
released back to the global F-35 spares pool.
The assignment of initial F-35 component repair
capability represents about 8 per cent of the total
amount of repairable work, and BAE will also take part
in three other repair groups involving aircraft structure
and electric components.
Requests for Information (RFI) for further
Warehousing and Non Air Vehicle repairs were
released to the F-35 Enterprise in October 2016 and
will be assessed during 2017, with a decision expected
in the first half of this year according to Gresham.
This will make 709 Tier 2 repairable components,
and Gresham told APDR during a site visit to BAE’s
facilities at Williamtown that it is hoped that the
company will be able to secure as many of these as
possible for synergy and cost efficiencies.
RUAG Australia’s primary lines of business are
engineering, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
(MRO), precision manufacturing and metal treatment
& finishing. RUAG Australia operates five sites in
four states, with the head office at Bayswater in
Melbourne’s outer east encompassing all of these
capabilities. MRO activities are performed at RAAF
Bases Amberley and Williamtown, Airport West in
Victoria, as well as metal treatment and finishing in
Wingfield, South Australia
The company specialises in component/system level
deeper MRO of repairable items, design engineering,
adaptation and modification, precision machining,
assembly, testing and specialist surface treatments
and finishing. In addition, RUAG Australia is a pioneer
in the development and application of Powder
Deposition Technologies for Defence applications.
RUAG Australia has been involved in the F-35 JSF
program since 2004, as part of the System, Design
& Development phase of the program. Its precision
machining capability at Bayswater can manufacture
parts with clearances as low as 0.000030” for
matched sleeve and slide sets while in South Australia,
RUAG processes vertical tail components for the F-35
at a specialised facility with a state of the art, fully
automated long processing line that does titanium and
aluminium processing, laboratory and testing support.
The South Australian facility is also closely
engaged with BAE Systems Australia processing
oversized F-35 vertical tail components, where RUAG
performs titanium chemical coat conversion coating,
Defence has itself called Australia’s participation a catalyst for
change for both Australian Defence capability and outcomes for
Australian defence industry, with the new capability acquisition
strategy adopted by the program allowing local industry to
participate in all stages of the capability life cycle from design
through to sustainment.
Asia Pacific Defence Reporter FEB 2017 19
F-35A Lightning II during the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.
Credit: Brenton Kwaterski
30/01/2017 6:38 PM
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