[Avionics Today 12-12-2014] The Department of Defense (DOD) has assigned F-35 Regional Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul and Upgrade (MRO&U) capability for airframes and engines for the European Region. 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.
|The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in testing. Photo: F35 Lockheed Martin
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 United Kingdom would be assigned to supplement the existing capability. Turkey will initially provide engine heavy maintenance also in 2018, with Norway and the Netherlands providing additional capability approximately 2 to 3 years after Turkey’s initial capability.
According to a statement released by Lockheed Martin, 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. Regional considerations such as forward basing, aircraft phasing and transportation also contributed to initial assignment decisions. Each country has been provided with requirements outlining heavy maintenance needs for the F-35 engine and airframe and has been afforded the opportunity to work with their industrial base.
Additionally, the DOD assures these maintenance assignments do not preclude the opportunity for other F-35 Partners and Flight Management Systems (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. An announcement on the Asia-Pacific region workload assignments is forthcoming.