The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) No 3 Squadron has received the tenth F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, US, following acceptance testing activities.
The new aircraft joins other Australian F-35 aircraft on the flight line and the delivery marks an important milestone in the Australian JSF project.
Australia Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said: “This is a key milestone in our acquisition of the JSF, which is the most advanced, affordable fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter to meet Australia’s need to defeat emerging threats well into the future.”
The RAAF’s ninth and tenth aircraft will switch to the Australian Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which carries out maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35A fleet.
Pyne added: “Until now, all aircraft deliveries went to the F-35 International Pilot Training Centre, which required RAAF maintainers to perform ALIS-related tasks using the American system.
“Operating on Australian ALIS is an important achievement before the JSFs arrive in Australia in December this year.”
The F-35A multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter is being purchased by the Australian Department of Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group under project AIR 6000.
Through the procurement, the Australian government intends to tackle current and emerging threats.
The country aims to have 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, as well as a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown. All the aircraft are expected to become fully operational by 2023.