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December 28, 2020

Australia announces F-35A Lightning II Initial Operational Capability

The Government of Australia has announced that the F-35A Lightning II fleet has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

The Government of Australia has announced that the F -35A Lightning II fleet has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).

The IOC will enable the Australian Defence F orce (ADF ) to deploy the fifth-generation aircraft fleet for various operations.

The F -35A Lightning II aircraft is an advanced multi-role, supersonic and stealth fighter, the induction of which will help Royal Australian Air F orce (RAAF ) in meeting its requirements to combat current and emerging threats.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The fifth-generation F -35A, along with the F /A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, is key to our air combat capability and critical to achieving the objectives set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update to Shape, Deter and Respond.

F or the last two years, Defence has rigorously tested the F -35A fleet to assess aircraft and system performance, and declare this important milestone.

“I would like to thank everyone that has worked so hard to get us to this point; to have accomplished all the required testing and materiel delivery is remarkable.

“The Australian Defence F orce now has an F -35A squadron ready to conduct technologically advanced strike and air combat roles, and another squadron dedicated to providing world-class training here in Australia.”

Australia will have three F -35A aircraft squadrons with 72 units at the RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal. It will also have a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “Australia will continue to work with the United States F -35 Joint Program Office and our industry partners as more aircraft are delivered through to 2023, and a mature capability is achieved.”

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