The final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the flying operations of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft in Australia has been approved by the Department of Environment.
The final EIS includes the Draft EIS and a supplementary report, which addresses aircraft noise and other environmental concerns raised by the communities living near Air Force bases.
The approval is subject to four core conditions, including the requirements to execute aircraft noise management plans as per the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Aircraft Noise Management Strategy.
The conditions also include ongoing monitoring and public reporting of aircraft noise level measurements around the F-35A operating bases.
A total of 72 fifth-generation F-35A aircrafts will be operated from the RAAF Bases Williamtown in NSW and Tindal in the Northern Territory.
The F-35A operations will also be supported by RAAF Bases Darwin, Pearce, Amberley, Townsville and Edinburgh.
Australia will receive the first F-35A aircraft later in 2018. The F-35A fleet will replace the old F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft.
Australian contingent commander group captain Phil Gordon said that the RAAF was committed to implementing the conditions of the report.
Gordon said: "We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Environment and the community to minimise the environmental impacts of the flying operations while balancing operational and training requirements so Defence can effectively provide air power for Australia’s national security."
Image: The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet at Luke Air Force Base. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Airman Pedro Mota.