Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne has unveiled the first of the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35A Joint Strike Fighter facilities at RAAF Base Williamtown.
The Off Board Information Systems Centre (OBISC), which has been dubbed the "nerve centre" for the aircraft, represents $16 million of the $770 million of works currently under way at the base.
The OBISC project provided 350 local jobs during construction.
"The centre is an Australian unique capability that hosts ground-based, off board, F-35A autonomic logistics information system (ALIS)," Minister Pyne said.
"The ALIS is the logistical nerve centre for the Joint Strike Fighter. It is used to support mission planning, manage air and ground crew training, manage day-to-day maintenance activities and to provide logistical support to the aircraft and associated systems."
ALIS, software developed by Lockheed Martin, will provide the information system hardware, software and data that performs maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35A weapon system.
Minister Pyne said the investment at Williamtown has significantly contributed to the local area and economy.
"The overall investment in Williamtown is providing significant returns to the local community, with more than $215 million of contracts going to local businesses to date," he said.
"It demonstrates what happens when the government invests in high-end military equipment. It requires upgrading bases and material across the country, which then flows into investment in jobs in local industry."
More of the works currently underway at the base are on track for completion by mid-2021.
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The facilities to be provided at Williamtown also include:
- runway extensions;
- base electrical, sewage, fire and storm-water management infrastructure; and
- F-35A squadron headquarters, training and maintenance facilities.
The New Air Combat Capability project at Williamtown was approved by the government in April 2014 and is part of a $1.48 billion capability project undertaken by Defence across RAAF bases Williamtown and Tindal as well as forward operating bases.
Construction started in November 2014, with all works required to support the arrival of the first F-35A in 2018 on track for completion.