Australia’s first F-35s arrive at RAAF Williamtown

Line of Defence Magazine, December 10, 2018

Embraer KC-390
First Aircraft Arrival F-35A Joint Strike Fighter
Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets fly in formation with a pair of F-35A Joint Strike Fighters over Stockton Beach, NSW. Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence

Australia’s first two locally-based F-35 fighter aircraft arrived on home soil today at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Williamtown, signalling the dawn of a new era for the nation’s defence capabilities.

Lockheed Martin designed and built Australia’s fleet of F-35s and also serves as the global industry lead for F-35 sustainment.

The F-35 will be a catalyst for the transformation of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), utilising its sensors and low observability to operate with impunity in contested airspace and fuse a picture of the battlespace for other air, land and sea assets.

“The arrival of the first F-35 aircraft to be permanently based in Australia is a historic occasion and we are proud of our role as the 5th generation design pioneer and F-35 original equipment manufacturer,” said Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia, Vince Di Pietro AM, CSC.

“We congratulate the RAAF, the ADF and all of our Australian industry partners who have worked to make this achievement a reality.”

Australian suppliers play a significant role in the F-35 program with more than 50 Australian companies contributing to the global program of record of more than 3,000 aircraft. To date, the F-35 program has secured more than 2,400 highly skilled jobs created and generated more than $1.3 billion AUD in contracts for Australian industry.

“Flown by Australian pilots, maintained by Australian maintenance personnel and containing many best-of-breed advanced components made right here in Australia, all Australians have every reason to be proud of this achievement,” Di Pietro said.

“Australia plays a significant role in the program with a suite of local industrial technology and know-how behind the hundreds of F-35s flying today, as well as the thousands of F-35s that will be produced in the future.”

Australia’s has committed to 72 F-35As, which will be flown by Australian pilots, and maintained by a joint team of Australian maintenance personnel and industry partners including Lockheed Martin Australia. Australia has received 10 aircraft to date, the remainder of which are stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where they are part of the international cooperative F-35 training operations.

 

Madison