February 12, 2019 – The UK’s role as a leading partner on the global F-35 program has received another huge boost today.
The F-35 avionic and aircraft component repair hub in North Wales was awarded a second major assignment of work worth some £500M by the US Department of Defense.
Following the announcement in 2016 that the UK would be the location of the global repair hub for the initial tranche of F-35 components, today’s news sees significantly more UK support work to the cutting-edge jets. This new assignment will support hundreds of additional F-35 jobs in the UK – many of them at the MOD’s Defence & Electronics Components Agency (DECA) at MOD Sealand, where the majority of the work will be carried out.
It will see crucial maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for an even wider range of F-35 avionic, electronic and electrical systems for hundreds of F-35 aircraft based globally.
The winning solution builds on the innovative joint venture formed between the MOD (DECA), BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman called Sealand Support Services Ltd (SSSL). SSSL support work and services for F-35 are scheduled to commence from 2020.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
This announcement keeps Britain right at the centre of the global F-35 partnership, the largest defence programme in history. It is a vote of confidence in our highly-skilled workforce and high-tech industry that provides us and our allies with the very best of what British engineering has to offer.
Our vision of Global Britain brings with it new and exciting opportunities to provide top quality goods made in Britain to the rest of the world.
This deal builds on the strong foundations of the UK’s enduring defence partnership with the US. It is a significant boost for British jobs and those highly-skilled workers who enable these world-class fighter jets to continue keeping us safe and secure.
The news follows a November 2018 announcement that the UK has ordered 17 more F-35B aircraft, which will be delivered between 2020 and 2022, to join the 17 British aircraft currently based at RAF Marham and in the US, as well as another already on order.
Also, in November 2018, the MOD awarded a £160M contract to Kier VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver infrastructure to ready RAF Lakenheath for 2 squadrons of US Air Force F-35s. The Suffolk airbase will be the first permanent international site for US Air Force F-35s in Europe and continues the base’s long and proud history of supporting US Air Force capability in the UK.