Australia Builds Out its F-35 Engine Maintenance Capabilties

By Andrew McLaughlin

TAE Aerospace has announced it has purchased a site at Bundamba near Ipswich in Queensland which will become its primary engine maintenance, repair, overall and upgrade (MRO&U) facility for the F-35A Lightning II’s P&W F135 and other engines in Australia and the region.

The company says the former hardware warehouse will become a state-of-the-art aerospace facility, purpose-designed to optimise program outcomes for its Defence customer and give the company further room to grow.

“Buying an existing building rather than starting with a block of land has saved us six months of development time, and with the building already designed and finished to a high standard it stood out as the best option for us and our customer,” TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said in a statement.

“We have just signed an agreement with a local builder now we are ready to start transforming this building into the most advanced military engine MRO&U facility in the Southern Hemisphere.” 

The building is planned to be ready to start accepting F135 by mid-2019, and will be expanded to provide space to accommodate the company’s F404 (classic Hornet), F414 (Super Hornet and Growler) and AGT1500 (M1A1 Abrams) engine programs.

“We have conducted time and motion studies and designed the footprint to optimise everything from production throughput, to the flow of goods and movement of parts, to the technology requirements,” Mr Sanderson added.

“We have operated from the RAAF base since 2000 and achieved great outcomes there, but we have outgrown it now and having our workforce spread over multiple buildings is not ideal for productivity. 

“As well as being together in one building, the Bundamba location is great for us. We are close to Ipswich where many of our people live, it brings us closer to the Brisbane CBD as well as the port for deliveries, and there is good access to public transport.”

Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne said the new facility is a testament to the strength of Australia’s defence industry and the contribution Australia makes to the global F-35 program.

“TAE Aerospace’s new facility will support MRO&U activities for not only Australian F135 engines but also engines from around the Asia Pacific region and the world,” he said.

“TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent Australian-owned with 237 employees at several sites across Australia. The addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add a minimum of 15 aerospace technician jobs to its workforce and up to 85 additional jobs as part of the future F-35 Global Support Solution.”

This article was first published by our partner ADBR on August 31, 2018.