Lockheed Martin has delivered three F-35A aircraft that will be used for the training of Australian pilots at the Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, USA.
Minister for Defence Marise Payne congratulated Lockheed Martin on reaching the important milestone, saying the F-35 program is on track to provide Australia with a fifth generation aircraft at the forefront of air combat technology.
“These latest aircraft are fitted with the program’s final software system, which unlocks the aircraft’s full war-fighting potential including weapons, mission systems and flight performance,” Minister Payne said.
“The stealthy, advanced F-35A is a step change in the Australian Defence Force’s capabilities, giving Australia an edge against the emergence of advanced capabilities in our region.”
“Australia is the first international partner to accept jets with Block 3F capability, and this is another key step towards introducing the aircraft into service before its arrival in Australia in December this year.”
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne noted that Australia now has five aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with five more aircraft scheduled for delivery by the end of 2018.
“More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than A$1 billion in production contracts to date, providing further opportunities to small and medium Australian businesses which benefit through supply chain work,” the Minister added.
“In 2016, the F-35 Program supported more than 2,400 jobs across Australia, which is set to grow to 5,000 by 2023.