Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan has said that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will open engine maintenance facilities for the aircraft in Australia and Japan in the next few years.
Claudette Roulo reported Wednesday for DoD News that the future sites will house heavy engine maintenance, overhaul, repair and upgrade work for F-35s based in the region.
Bogdan, program executive officer of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, told reporters that the Defense Department decided to build the facilities due to geographic and operational necessity and the growing presence of F-35s in the Pacific.
“[As] more airplanes come to the Pacific over time, we want to make sure we have enough throughput to get all the engines done in the region in a timely way,” he said.
Roulo reports that Australia will provide initial maintenance capability by early 2018, followed by Japan within the next five years.
According to Bogdan, the program office will then review this arrangement based on the distribution of F-35 aircraft in the region, as well as assign other components and capabilities in both the Pacific and Europe.
The report said Japan will fund, build and operate its facility, while Lockheed Martin will provide technical support for production and the U.S. government will oversee security.