BAE System’s director of aerospace Steven Drury told Defence Connect that preparations for the F-35 project were well underway at its Willamtown facility.
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"There's so much to be done and we're so excited about the F-35 decision," said Drury. "It's a big move for us. We're doing Hawk maintenance up there at the moment."
Drury described how work was underway to extend one of the hangars, and noted that to accommodate the new contract some operations would need to be transferred from one hangar to another.
"The assignment we had for the air frame depot was two years ago, and now we're actually seeing the aircraft turn up at the end of next year," he added. "By saying the end of next year, it puts an immediacy on the whole planning that we're doing, but we've been ready for this and planning quite well for it. We're about 90 per cent design approval for the extension, so we'll get that done this year and then we can use the transfer of our current hangar."
He said the Hawks would be shifted across to what BAE Systems calls its northern hangar, "and then we can start setting out the southern hangar, so by December 2018, we'll be ready to accommodate F-35s".