The US Department of Defense has assigned F-35 maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) capability for the first component repair assignments Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS), for the first 65 of 774 repairables. The assignments were based on data compiled and analysed by the F-35 Joint Program Office that was collected from partner nations, foreign military sales (FMS) customers and their industries. These initial regional MRO&U assignments will support near-term component repair requirements in support of F-35 overseas operations and maintenance, and will be reviewed and updated as program needs dictate, but no later than the next five years.
As part of the F-35 global sustainment strategy, participating nations were provided with requirements outlining global repair needs for the F-35 component workload. Each country was afforded the opportunity to work with their industrial base to provide the F-35 enterprise work over and above their own F-35 needs. Regional considerations such as forward basing, aircraft phasing and transportation also contributed to initial assignment decisions.
There are a total of 774 components (broken into 18 categories such as avionics, life support, egress, canopy system, pumps etc) that will be repaired on the F-35. This current assignment is for 65 of these 774 parts with assignment of the remaining parts to occur over the next 2 to 3 years. Eventually, the Program intends to have regional repair capability in Europe and the Pacific for all 774 components.
The current assignments are time-phased such that the first repair capabilities will be stood up by 2021 and will serve all F-35s globally until 2025. This is because the demand for repairs from 2021 to 2025 can be satisfied with a single repair source globally. Eventually, the demand for repairs will increase to a point where a single global repair capability will not be enough and as a result the program will stand up regional repair capabilities in Europe and the Pacific to handle the increased demand. Thus, there are two component repair assignments being made today: one for global repairs form 2021 to 2025 and a second for regional repairs from 2025 and beyond.
2021 to 2025 Global Repair Assignments:
The Department of Defense has assigned 48 of the first 65 components to the United Kingdom and 14 of the first 65 components to the Netherlands and 3 components to Australia for global repairs from 2021 to 2025. From 2021 to 2025 these repair capabilities in the UK, Australia and the Netherlands will serve all F-35s around the world.
2025 and Beyond: Regional Repair Assignments:
For the European region, the Department has assigned 51 of the first 65 components to the UK and 14 of the first 65 components to the Netherlands, with this repair capability to be activated in 2025.
For the Pacific region, the Department has assigned 64 of the first 65 components to Australia and 1 component assigned to Korea, with this repair capability to be activated by 2025.
These initial repair technology category assignments do not preclude the opportunity for other F-35 Partners and FMS customers, including those assigned initial airframe and engine capabilities, to participate and be assigned additional future sustainment workload, to include other components, support equipment, full mission simulators, autonomic logistics information system (ALIS) and maintenance training devices as the fleet grows and the F-35 global presence expands.
"This is the first of many opportunities we will have to assign F-35 global sustainment solutions for component repair work," said F-35 program Executive Officer, Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan. "As international F-35 deliveries increase and global operations expand, support provided by our international F-35 users becomes increasingly more important. We are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside these nations on a daily basis; this close teamwork enables the US Defense Department to make well-informed, best-value decisions to shape the F-35 global sustainment posture for decades to come."
Today's assignment of initial F-35 component repair capability represents about 8 percent of total amount of repairable work. Requests for information (RFI) for F-35 warehousing and non air vehicle repairs were released to the F-35 enterprise in October 2016 and will be assessed during 2017.
In 2014 the Department of Defense has assigned F-35 MRO&U capability for airframes and engines for the European and Pacific regions. These assignments support near-term engine and airframe F-35 overseas operations and maintenance and will be reviewed and updated in approximately five years.
In the European region, F-35 initial airframe MRO&U capability will be provided by Italy at their final assembly and checkout facility in Cameri by 2018. Should additional airframe MRO&U capability be required, BAE Systems in the UK would be assigned to supplement the existing capability. In the European region, engine heavy maintenance will initially be provided by Turkey in 2018, with Norway and the Netherlands providing additional capability approximately 2-3 years after Turkey's initial capability.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the Department of Defense assigned, F-35 airframe MRO&U capability to Japan and their industry partner, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Limited for the northern Pacific, and Australia and their industry partner, BAE Systems for the southern Pacific, with both capabilities required no later than early 2018. For heavy F-35 engine maintenance, the initial capability will be provided by Australia and their industry partner TAE, with Japan and their industry partner, IHI Corporation, providing additional capability approximately 3-5 years later.