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F135 repair and upgrade facility goes operational in Australia
TAE Aerospace has achieved initial depot capability status to repair Pratt & Whitney F135 engine fan and power modules on all variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, thereby placing F-35 engine maintenance capability in the Asia-Pacific region for the first time.
As an operational F135 engine depot outside of the US, TAE Aerospace will support engines for all F-35 operators in the Asia-Pacific region under the F-35 Global Support System.
Australia has ordered 72 of the F135 engines, according to Shephard Defence Insight.
The latest development also helps meet Australian government goals of establishing sovereign industrial capabilities, said TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson.
O Sung Kwon, VP of Pratt & Whitney Military Engines Sustainment Operations, noted that standing up regional (MRO&U) depots ‘is an integral part of the enterprise’s strategy to accelerate capacity growth across the F135 MRO&U network to exceed programme requirements’.
Since 2015, TAE Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and the Australian federal government have delivered MRO and upgrade initiatives such as the completion of the first F135 fan module repair (February 2020) and completion of the first F135 power module repair (May 2021) outside the US.
Attributes of the fifth-generation F135 compared with fourth-generation engines include more than 40,000lb of thrust; a 50% increase in thermal management capacity; and a low observable signature enabling the F-35 to conduct operations in modern A2AD environments.
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