The Department of Defence has opened a tender process for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter non air vehicle depot for the repair, overhaul and upgrade of software, hardware and other IT systems.
The department, on behalf of the US Government, is seeking partners with capabilities in software repair, installation and testing for Red Hat JBoss, VMware, Autodesk, Atlantis Computing, VSX, Oracle, Splunk, Horizon Software, Vsphere, and HPE 3Par.
Applicants are required to have repair, maintenance and set-up capabilities for servers, server systems, networks, consoles and computer hardware.
The department said repair capabilities should include but not be limited to blade servers, zero clients, clear cubes, server racks, storage area network, switches, and power supplies. The industry standard required to be met is ISO9001:2008.
The project is part of the establishment of the F-35 Global Support Solution and Australia and Japan are competing to become the Asia-Pacific servicing hub for the fighter aircraft. The project is the most expensive defence program to date.
The US plans to build almost 3000 aircraft with Australia committed to taking 72 planes at a cost of around a $130 million dollars each.
However, the F-35 is also one of the most controversial defence projects in history. The project has been plagued by cost blowouts, and continuing maintenance and technical issues.
The Australian Government is currently in negotiations with F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the US Government for additional service and support contracts relating to the project.
Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, is travelling to the US this week to support the country’s case and told The ABC that Australia’s commitment from the beginning of the program should give the country an advantage in negotiations.
The Department of Defence has requested information from Australian partners on behalf of The US F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO).
The initial phase of the tender process requires partners to submit “high level information” to allow the Commonwealth and JPO to assess the industrial, technical and managerial capability of interested companies.
The Commonwealth, through the Department of Defence, will filter responses with final pre-analysis to be completed by the JPO.
The department said the second phase of the tender may be released in early 2017, at which time it may issue a request for proposal for companies that successfully complete the initial stage of the tender process.