The facility is due to open in July 2019, and one of its many uses will be in-country sustainment of Australia’s fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.
Minister Ciobo said the facility is "not exclusive" to defence, but it will be a major customer of the new facility that is based near Ipswich.
"Defence’s contract with TAE Aerospace will support maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade (MRO&U) activities for F135 engines, as well as existing Australian Defence Force capabilities," Minister Ciobo said.
"TAE Aerospace is 100 per cent Australian-owned with over 245 employees at several sites across Australia – including 182 in Queensland – and holds contracts to support Classic Hornet, Super Hornet, Growler and M1 Abrams tank engines. The addition of the F135 engine MRO&U activities will add a minimum of 15 new aerospace technician jobs to its Queensland workforce."
Once completed, the building will have 15,620 square metres of floor space, which is an 80 per cent expansion of the current footprint, and will see five key work areas established, including:
- F135 engine maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade (MRO&U) and regional warehouse area – ready Q4 FY19;
- Existing engine MRO&U and warehouse area for engines from Hornet (F404), Super Hornet, Growler (F414) and Abrams tank (AGT1500), plus expansion space – ready Q2 FY20;
- Engine component repair area including cleaning, non-destructive testing, machining, welding, grinding, heat treatment – ready Q2 FY20;
- Advanced manufacturing facility for aluminium vacuum brazing based chassis production for the F-35 aircraft – ready Q2 FY20; and
- Administration and engineering office complex – ready Q2 FY20.
TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said that the event marked a significant milestone in the company’s journey.
"It has been an exciting progression from our initial engineering support of the F-111 TF30 engine, to now preparing to provide full in-country support for the world’s most advanced and powerful jet fighter engine, the F135,” he said.
"The start of construction on this facility marks the start of the next chapter for us as Australia’s aerospace company.”