The Turbine Engine Maintenance Facility (TEMF) at Bundamba, near RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, is on track for completion as TAE Aerospace works to establish the facility that will support long-term military engine maintenance in Australia.
An important milestone in the Australian F-35A Project occurred in June when the first Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) F135 engine module was inducted into the facility.
Facilities and Regional Capabilities Manager Wing Commander (WGCDR) Mark Donnellan, of JSF Division, said TAE’s initial F135 workforce had started hands-on engine training at the facility.
“This initial workforce has completed the necessary theory training, so the induction of the engine module is a great step forward in terms of practical training leading to qualification,” WGCDR Donnellan said.
TAE received building certification of the F135 maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) areas from the local regulatory authority in May.
MRO&U Project Coordinator Luke Gray, of JSF Division, said this building certification constituted formal handover and custody transfer for the F135 area from the builder to TAE.
“The contractor received written advice from the US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) that the TEMF design met the JPO’s requirements to support F135 services,” Mr Gray said.
“Recent security inspections at the TEMF by US Government agencies and F135 Prime Contractor Pratt & Whitney also confirmed the facility is ready to support F-35 services.”
WGCDR Donnellan said by December 2020 the full construction of the TEMF was expected to have finished and full capability transferred from the current RAAF Base Amberley engine maintenance facilities to the Bundamba TEMF.
“The TEMF will enable deeper-level maintenance, where F135 engine modules are disassembled, repaired and reassembled for testing,” he said.
Defence will be a major, but not exclusive, customer of TAE Aerospace’s new facility.
“Defence’s contract with TAE Aerospace will support MRO&U activities for the F-35’s F135 engines, as well as existing ADF capabilities,” WGCDR Donnellan said.
TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent Australian-owned with more than 230 employees at several sites across Australia, and holds contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abrams tank engines.
The global F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of AU$1.3 billion in production contracts to date.