Celebrating a Century of Air Power

Celebrating a Century of Air Power
March 29, 2021
We congratulate the Royal Australian Air Force on achieving the outstanding milestone of 100 years of protecting Australia and her national interests.  

Australia has faced significant and wide-ranging threats to its national interests over the last 100 years.

This year’s centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) presents the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the service personnel who have dedicated their lives to protecting others, whether in global conflicts or disasters in our region and at home.

As a partner to the RAAF for more than 80 years, Lockheed Martin is honoured to have helped these personnel perform their duties on behalf of Australia and its allies.

We are deeply grateful for their service and acknowledge their sacrifices in defence of our country.

Forged in the World War Two era, Lockheed Martin’s relationship with the RAAF is one of our closest and most enduring partnerships.

In that war more than one thousand Hudson, Vengeance, Ventura, Lodestar, Catalina and Liberator aircraft took to the skies in the service of the RAAF. The longstanding association between the RAAF and our current manufacturing plant in Fort Worth continues to this day.

For more than 60 years Lockheed P-2 Neptunes and P-3 Orions were the mainstay of the RAAF’s Maritime Patrol capability. The RAAF was the first export operator of the venerable C-130 Hercules in 1958, establishing the program as the mainstay of RAAF Air Mobility across C-130A, E, H and J model aircraft. 

RAAF 100
Image Credit Royal Australian Air Force

In the 1960s and 70s, our Fort Worth facility produced the F-111 which served as the primary RAAF strike capability for almost 40 years. 

More recently, Lockheed Martin Australia has supported the RAAF in its transition to become a 5th-generation air force and arguably the most capable medium-sized air force in the world. In December, it was declared that the RAAF’s F-35 Lightning II fleet had achieved Initial Operational Capability, signifying a new era of Australian air power.

Now, in the RAAF’s 100th anniversary year, Lockheed Martin Australia is honoured to be the prime contractor and capability partner for two of the RAAF’s largest operating fleets, the F-35 and the PC-21.  

RAAF 100
Image Credit Royal Australian Air Force

It has been a privilege to work hand-in-glove with RAAF service personnel every day, supporting these fleets as well as the RAAF C-130J and the Tactical Air Defence Radar System. 

Our growing presence in regional Australia reflects this strong and ongoing partnership. The Lockheed Martin Australia facilities in East Sale, Victoria, are home to the RAAF’s AIR 5428 Pilot Training System, and the RAAF Base Richmond houses the C-130J Hercules.

Further north, we have more than 200 employees and sub-contractors at RAAF Base Williamtown. Supported by our local industry partners, we provide critical sustainment services to the F-35 fleet, with a combined world-class sovereign capability that includes pilot instructors, maintenance instructors, courseware developers, training device technicians and IT support.

These services will be extended further afield by establishing a satellite F-35 sustainment capability at RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.

As the lead F-35 sustainment partner, Lockheed Martin Australia has a responsibility to ensure this nation has the local expertise and experience necessary to support the RAAF F-35 fleet over the full life of the program.

We believe fulfilling this goal involves job creation and skilling up the next generation of Australians. In the Hunter region, we have partnered with Regional Development Australia Hunter on engineering training initiatives and partnerships with Newcastle vocational and tertiary providers.

As the F-35 prime and sustainment steward, we are proud that the program has opened the door to a significant amount of Australian industry participation and enabled local companies to directly contribute to the RAAF’s most potent and advanced weapons system.

To date, more than 50 Australian companies have benefited from $2.7 billion in contracts for the development, production and sustainment of the aircraft, creating more than 2,400 high-tech manufacturing jobs for Australian industry. Is estimated that more than 6,000 Australians will be contributing to production, with thousands of additional Australian job roles in sustaining the RAAF F-35 fleet.

RAAF 100
Image Credit Royal Australian Air Force

The global challenges of the last 12 months have brought into focus the critical importance to national security of establishing resilience and sovereign capability in Australia.

Lockheed Martin Australia will continue to invest in our local industry and research partners to ensure the RAAF has the workforce, technology and know-how necessary to meet this need. We will do this through high-value job creation, workforce skilling, research and development, as well as through enhanced integration and interoperability with the US and other allies in the region.

As Australia’s strategic environment evolves and new threats to our national interests emerge, Lockheed Martin Australia is proud to help maintain the RAAF’s position as one of the most advanced air forces in the world. 

We congratulate the RAAF on a century of exemplary service and look forward to continuing our partnership into the next 100 years.