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Lockheed Martin receives first Australian-made F-35 deployable facilities

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Defence technology and innovation company, Lockheed Martin Australia, has welcomed delivery of the first two F-35 deployable facilities manufactured by Tomago-based Varley Group - as part of the Deployable Duty Facility/Deployable ICT Facility Mission System - at a ceremony in Tomago, Newcastle.

The two deployable facilities, the first of 29 to be manufactured by Varley Group over a three-year contract, represent a key milestone in the delivery of capabilities critical to the operation and sustainment of Australia’s F-35A fleet.

Lockheed Martin Australia will complete a technology fit-out of the two deployable facilities locally; one will house ICT equipment used on deployment, while the other will provide a facility for duty personnel and mission planning.

Once accepted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the deployable facilities will be deployed to Luke AFB in Arizona, where they will be used to support all operations and maintenance of the first two RAAF F-35A aircraft planned for delivery to Australia in December 2018. 

Speaking at the handover ceremony held at Varley Group’s Australian headquarters in Tomago, Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive, Vince Di Pietro AM, CSC said the completion of the first deployable facilities by Varley Group was a further reinforcement of Lockheed Martin Australia’s critical role in delivering an end-to-end sustainment solution for Australia’s advanced F-35 capability.

“As 5th generation technology design pioneers, Lockheed Martin is uniquely placed to understand and meet the sustainment requirements of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft; the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,” he said.  “The RAAF’s deployable facilities will play a critical role in supporting operations and maintenance activities for the F-35A aircraft; predictive prognostic and mission support requirements in the realisation of a truly networked and integrated Australian Defence Force.”

Varley Group Managing Director, Jeff Phillips said the Varley Group and Lockheed Martin-Australia had delivered on time an Australian build, with Australian steel, using Australian workers from the Hunter, and an opportunity to export the deployable facilities to the world. 

"Without Lockheed Martin Australia's investment in the Australian defence industry and more importantly in Varley Group, 20 direct Varley jobs, including two apprentices, and another 50 local jobs downstream in the supply chain, would've been lost to the Hunter," Mr Phillips said.

"The Hunter is on the verge of a defence jobs and defence exports boom. With supporters like Lockheed Martin, the Federal and NSW Governments, RDA Hunter, HunterNet and Newcastle University, I believe this region can become the nation's primary JSF advanced manufacturing hub.”

The full capability of the 29 deployable facilities will provide transportable, secure and environmentally-controlled workspaces for Australian Defence Force personnel to operate information support systems for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and other platforms around the world.