Australia’s Department of Defence has formally accepted the first two deployable cabins for the ADF’s F-35A fleet from Lockheed Martin Australia and the Newcastle-based fabrication experts Varley Group, Manufacturers Monthly informed.
Fifteen of the cabins will eventually be delivered by Lockheed Martin and Varley Group. The deployable duty facility (DDF) cabins operate the information and communication technology (ICT) systems which are essential for the support of Australia’s F-35A aircraft.
The two cabins were manufactured by Varley Group using Australian Steel. They have been handed over by Lockheed Martin Australia for fit-out at Royal Australian Air Force Base in Williamtown.
Chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia, Vince Di Pietro, said the cabins would play a critical role in operating and maintaining Australia’s F-35 fleet whether from their home base or deployed further afield.
“DDF mission system evolution involves the digital development of our deployable facilities and has the ability to accommodate the full operator workforce needed to utilise fully F-35 capability when deployed from home base,” Di Pietro said. “When operating the F-35, off-board information systems are required to operate seamlessly in operational scenarios, these Australian built and designed cabins make this possible.”
Defence industry minister Steven Ciobo said Varley Group’s involvement in delivery of the cabins was an example of the opportunities available in Australia’s expanding defence industry for companies in regional areas.
“The deployable cabins were built by Varley Group in Newcastle, NSW, using Australian steel, creating 20 jobs at Varley and another 50 local jobs in the Hunter region supply chain,” Ciobo said. “The F-35 Program has had a positive impact on Australia’s growing defence industry, which has collectively been awarded in excess of $1 billion in production contracts as part of the global program. This will support up to 5000 Australian jobs by 2023.”
Defence minister Christopher Pyne said the Commonwealth’s formal acceptance of the deployable facilities was an important milestone for the full operation of Air Force’s F-35A aircraft.
“The deployable cabins are a critical part of operating and maintaining the Air Force’s new fighter aircraft, whenever they are deployed away from their future homes at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal,” Pyne said. “All 15 deployable cabins will provide transportable, secure workspaces for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel to support operations and maintenance activities as part of the future networked ADF.”