WASHINGTON, 12 Dec. 2014. U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials have issued the first F-35 Regional Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) facility assignments. These initial MRO&U assignments will 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 by 2018. Should additional airframe MRO&U capability be required, the UK would be assigned to supplement the existing capability.
In the European region, engine heavy maintenance will initially be provided by Turkey, also in 2018, with Norway and the Netherlands providing additional capability approximately two to three years after Turkey’s initial capability.
"This is the first of many opportunities we will have to assign F-35 global sustainment solutions," explains F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. 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 U.S. Defense Department to make well-informed, best-value decisions to shape the F-35 global sustainment posture for decades to come."
The assignments were based on data compiled and analyzed by the F-35 Joint Program Office that was collected from European Partners and their industries.
As part of the F-35 global sustainment strategy, participating nations were provided with requirements outlining Regional MRO&U, or "heavy maintenance" needs for both F-35 engine and airframe. 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.
These maintenance 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 work, to include component and system repairs, as the fleet grows and F-35 global presence expands.
An announcement on the Asia-Pacific region workload assignments is imminent.