The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has landed two all-weather multirole fighters F-35s at Amberley Air Force Base outside Brisbane for the first time.
The fifth-generation joint strike fighters were flown from Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, US. The first two Australian F-35As, AU-1 and AU-2, were used by Australian pilots for training.
Australian Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said that the debut of F-35 “is an incredible opportunity for the Australian public to see the future of aviation.”
The launch of the F-35s in Australia occurs 15 years after the Federal Government of Australia first announced that the country would participate in the system development and demonstration phase of the US-based company Lockheed Martin-led Joint Strike Fighter programme.
In 2009, the Federal Government announced that the F-35A fighters will replace RAAF’s traditional Hornet fighter fleet.
The two fighter jets are expected to be displayed to the public later this week at the Avalon Air Show in Victoria, Australia.
Payne was quoted by ABC as saying: “I think it's an important undertaking and I think Avalon is a perfect time to do it.
“I know that the Air Force is particularly pleased to have the opportunity and I look forward to some chances for people who have been following this story for some time to actually see it over our own continent.”
The Australian Government intends to invest $17bn for 72 units of F-35 fighter jets.
Next year, the first F-35 aircraft is expected to be delivered to the country, while it is slated to be operational in 2020.
Image: Multirole fighter jet F-35. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin.