Douglas Cliff/iStock 
By subscribing, you agree to our and You may unsubscribe at any time.
The Australian Government has announced its intention to create a new facility to produce the F-35A's special radar-absorbing paint.
Under a contract that will cost 100 million Australian dollars ($64 million), the new facility will be built at the Royal Australian Air Force base in Williamtown, New South Wales. The facility will also apply the "specialized paint" to maintain the stealth capabilities of Australia's F-35A Lightning II aircraft fleet.
The "work is vital for Australia's air combat capability," the Australian Government said in a statement. As the Australian Broadcasting Corporation states, this is the first time this "secret" paint will be applied in Australia. To aid in evading detection, aircraft incorporate features, including embedded sensors, internal carriage of weapons and fuel, reduced engine signature, aligned edges, and radar-absorbing paint.
"At Australia's first dedicated coating facility, a specialized paint will be applied to the aircraft to ensure they are virtually invisible to an adversary's radar. This work is vital for Australia's air combat capability," said the statement.
"The new facility is being established in partnership with BAE Systems Australia, which is responsible for the maintenance, repair, overhaul, and upgrade activities for Australia's fleet of 63 F-35A aircraft, which is being expanded to 72," the statement added.

The chemical makeup of the paint is a closely guarded secret. However, it acts to “help reflect radar energy from some directions while absorbing, attenuating, or altering it in others to reduce the aircraft’s radar return,” according to Air and Space Forces Magazine.
The new facility is expected to begin construction around mid-2024 following the finalization of its design this year. In collaboration with BAE Systems Australia, the coating facility will be constructed to support the upkeep and enhancement of Australia's 72-strong F-35 aircraft fleet. BAE Systems Australia is responsible for the maintenance and repair of these cutting-edge jets, and this partnership will help fulfill that obligation.
"Establishing the facility will create up to 25 new local ongoing jobs, which will be integral to the larger team of around 360 local workers that already sustain the F-35As at Newcastle Airport," explained the Australian Government. "The design for the coating facility is due to be finalized by the end of this year, with construction expected to start around mid-2024. It is expected to cost more than $100 million and involves more than 100 local jobs in the construction phase," they added.
To date, only Australian F-35As have undergone maintenance by BAE at Newcastle Airport. The new coating facility will support the maintenance of other F-35A fleets operating in the Indo-Pacific, transforming Newcastle Airport into a future regional hub. In addition to its primary functions, the facility will cater to the upkeep of F-35As utilized in the Indo-Pacific region.