RAAF denies problems with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

Australia’s Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld has released a formal statement in response to media reports claiming that Australia’s new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is not performing to schedule.

FILE PHOTO: Two RAAF F-35As at RAAF Base Williamtown. Photo by Brian Hartigan.

In the statement, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said he rejected the criticisms made in The Australian article ‘Defence revises down planned availability of the F-35A jet fleet’.

“The criticisms contained are completely unfounded,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“The Royal Australian Air Force has revised the expected flying hours based on our maturing understanding of the F-35A capability requirements and our expected build-up of the capability.

“Forward estimate flying hours are based on training and capability requirements, not availability.

“To use the basic singular metric of flying hours, to suggest that the F-35A is not satisfying its operational and training requirements, is misleading and simply false.

“I can confirm the JSF program has met all of its tasking commitments, such as exercises, verification and validation activities and training requirements.”

Air Marshal Hupfeld disclosed that Australia had flown more than 15,000 hours in the F-35A thus far.

“The project is delivering to the 2014 government-approved budget and schedule and has already achieved the key initial operational capability milestone of one operational F-35A squadron and training unit by December 2020.

“In 2021, the program stood up a second operational squadron and a third is occurring in 2022.”





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

3 thoughts on “RAAF denies problems with F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

  • 20/02/2022 at 4:40 pm

    They should be buying the B models. We have the ships able to launch and receive and would enable a air cover assessment for the amphibious deployable group. But that would entail some common dog fuck which has long been exhausted in defence

    • 20/02/2022 at 5:01 pm

      Dave, we actually don’t have ships able to launch B-model F-35s. The deck on our LHDs is not rated for the exhaust heat – and, if you put F-35s on an LHD (with new deck), you couldn’t carry more than 1 or 2 helicopters.
      Also, F-35B isn’t as capable as F-35A – with 2 tonnes less fuel-carrying capacity and no internal canon, because of the huge vertical-lift fan.

      • 29/06/2022 at 1:01 pm

        Brian, the points you make above are simply incorrect. I am sure you have read the articles by esteemed experts (in the true sense of that word) Steve George and David Baddams. If not, you can find them here: https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/lhd-and-stovl-an-engineers-view/

        The fact remains, without embarked F-35, we have no ability to conduct even the most mild of opposed amphibious operations. Combat is, after all, the role of our defence force. HADR roles remain a secondary tasking and the public will be a lot less forgiving if we are unable to deliver in our primary role when it counts.


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