A UK firm has opened an Australian field office in preparation to support the Joint Strike Fighter project in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Martin-Baker's new field office is the third of its kind, with one in Denham (UK) and one in Johnstown (US). The aerospace company said with growing deployment of the aircraft, including the USMC F-35Bs to Irukuni in Japan, the third location is a necessity to support the needs of the region.
"This has always been our plan since day one on this program to have three locations with full JSF seat capability for maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade of not just the US16E seat fitted to JSF, but all the support equipment associated with it. Australia, and more specifically Williamtown where the office is opening, is an ideal location as it will be a major hub in the JSF network and Australia’s main operating base for JSF," said Andrew Martin, Martin-Baker Aircraft Company director of business development and marketing.
"Being able to dispatch a Martin-Baker Australia field service engineer to anywhere in the Asia-Pacific will significantly reduce our response time in the region," said Steve Roberts, Martin-Baker JSF IPT Lead.
"They will be able to carry out maintenance and training for our customers at very short notice. Clearly the RAAF will be a major beneficiary of this investment by Martin-Baker."
Although the JSF project is the overarching reason for the company's expansion in the Australian market, Martin-Baker Australia managing director Andrew Eden said the Williamtown office provides an excellent opportunity for other projects.
"We are very excited. This is a major step forward for Martin-Baker Australia. Whilst the JSF capability is the driving force for the timing of this, Williamtown represents a large number of other platforms and customers including Classic Hornet, Hawk, PC-9, Discovery Air Alphajets and soon PC-21," said Eden.
The news of the new office comes on the tail of Martin-Baker Australia securing a contract with Pilatus for the MRO of all RAAF PC-21 ejection seats and canopies commencing in 2018. PC-21 represents the largest single fleet of ejection seats in Australia and this capability is being established at RAAF Base Pearce.
Between Pearce and Williamtown, Martin-Baker Australia will have coast-to-coast coverage and the capability to perform maintenance on any of its products at both locations in the near future.
There are currently more than 17,000 Martin-Baker seats in service in 90 countries and 56 different air frames.