Australia’s third F-35A Joint Strike Fighter has rolled off the assembly line at Lockheed Martin’s production facility in Fort Worth, Texas, marking another major milestone in Australia’s F-35A Project.
CAPTION: Squadron markings applied to Australia’s third F-35A – AU-03 – at Lockheed Martin facilities in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Angel DelCueto.
Australia’s first two F-35As are currently at Luke AFB as part of the global pilot training fleet, and this third aircraft is expected to join them after initial flight and acceptance testing.
The first F-35A aircraft is scheduled to be accepted into Australian service in 2018 and the first squadron, Number 3 Squadron, will be operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.
The Australian Government announced its selection of the conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) F-35A Lightning II to replace its classic Hornet fighter fleet in 2009.
ustralia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.
In the future, a fourth operational squadron will be considered for RAAF Base Amberley, for a total of 100 F-35As.
|Role||Fifth generation multi role fighter|
|Engines||Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100|
|Airframe||Length: 15.7 m, height: 4.4 m|
|Weight||13,290 kg (empty), 29,900 kg (max)|
|Max Speed||1,960 km/h (Mach 1.6)|