Australia has taken delivery of its next three F-35A Lightning II aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II – tail number A35-003 – departs Fort Worth Texas enroute to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to join the pilot-training fleet. Lockheed Martin photo by Alexander H Groves.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne congratulated Defence and Lockheed Martin on reaching the important milestone.
Minister Payne said Australia’s F-35 program was on track to provide Australia with a fifth generation aircraft at the forefront of air combat technology.
“These latest aircraft are fitted with the program’s final software system, which unlocks the aircraft’s full war-fighting potential including weapons, mission systems and flight performance,” Minister Payne said.
“The stealthy, advanced F-35A is a step change in the Australian Defence Force’s capabilities, giving Australia an edge against the emergence of advanced capabilities in our region.
“Australia is the first international partner to accept jets with Block 3F capability, and this is another key step towards introducing the aircraft into service before its arrival in Australia in December this year.”
Minister Pyne said this was another significant point in the Joint Strike Fighter program.
“Australia now has five aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, USA, where our pilots are currently training.
“Five more aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2018.”
The RAAF has 72 F-35A Lightning II on order to replace the current fleet of 71 F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornets.
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