Australia plans to boost MRO facility for aircraft

As the sun sets an F-35A Joint Strike Fighter conducts night operations at RAAF Base Richmond.

The Australian government has launched a plan to promote the development of domestic capability to support military aircraft.

The Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority Implementation Plan – issued on 12 November – outlines how the Department of Defence (DoD) intends to collaborate with local industry in enhancing the maintenance and sustainment of Australia’s military aircraft over the coming decade.

The Australian Department of Defence has launched an initiative to enhance local capability to support its front-line military aircraft including Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft. (US Air Force)

The Australian Department of Defence has launched an initiative to enhance local capability to support its front-line military aircraft including Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter aircraft. (US Air Force)

The plan is also intended to enable local industry to align its business planning and investment decisions with DoD capability priorities.

Capabilities targeted by the plan include maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), installing modifications and upgrades, the management of platform structural integrity and life-of-type analysis, and airworthiness certification following modification.

The plan also seeks to deliver such capabilities through the application of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other ‘evolving technologies’.

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The plan also outlines a series of linked ‘actions‘ that are expected to support the development of the identified capabilities.

These actions include efforts to improve industry’s access to platform technical data, the implementation of flexible contracting, building strong co-operative ties with supplying nations, and strengthened ties between academia and industry.

Another requirement, said the plan, is to ensure a focus on sustainment in the early stages programmes that progress through the US Foreign Military Sales mechanism.

The implementation plan is the latest in a series of initiatives to build sovereign skills and capacity in areas deemed critical for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

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