WILLIAMTOWN, AUSTRALIA – On December 13, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) received seven more F-35A Lightnings II. Seven F-35As flew from Luke AFB in Arizona to RAAF Base Williamtown in Australia, bringing the RAAF’s in-country F-35 fleet to a total of 13 jets.
The arrival brought the total number of F-35As at RAAF Williamtown to 13. Another 5 F-35As are also based at Luke AFB in Arizona for pilot training.
“This is the most advanced, multi-role stealth fighter in the world which will deliver next-generation capability benefits and provide a major boost to air combat capability,” Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said. “The deal is great news for Australia with the unit price now 5 per cent below the estimate at Government approval in 2014.”
The RAAF has ordered a total of 72 Australian F-35A Lightning II aircraft, of which 13 has now been delivered.
Replacement for the F-18 Hornet
In 2009 the Australian Government announced it had selected the F-35A Lightning II to replace its F-18 Hornet fighter fleet, building on a more than 50-year partnership between the RAAF and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is delivering the F-35 production and sustainment capability in Australia while creating thousands of jobs for Australian industry.
A boost for Australian economy
According to Lockheed Martin, over 50 Australian companies are contributing to the development, production and sustainment of the F-35. To date, these companies have been awarded more than $1.3 billion AUD in contracts, providing high-tech manufacturing jobs for Australian industry.
Australian Suppliers all over the country are realising the industrial benefits of the program through F-35 production and sustainment opportunities: new high-tech machines, increased exports and employment opportunities for the next generation.
The high-tech industry jobs contribute to economic growth in cities around Australia, setting up the industrial base with the technology transfer required to remain competitive in the global aerospace marketplace well into the future.
Parts manufactured by Australian small and medium sized companies are exported and integrated into every F-35 built worldwide.
(Head image: Royal Australian Air Force)