The Australian F-35A Project, also known as AIR6000 Phase 2A/2B, is introducing a fifth generation air combat capability to meet Australia's air combat needs beyond 2030.
Australia's F-35A will fulfil the functions of air dominance and strike capability currently provided by F/A-18A/B Hornets.
In the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Government confirmed plans to equip the Air Force with 72 F-35A aircraft by 2023, to meet planned Final Operating Capability.
The Australian F-35A Project is on schedule to achieve Initial Operating Capability in December 2020.
In addition to acquiring 72 aircraft, the project will deliver facilities, weapons and new support systems to meet the fifth generation requirements. The workforce will also need to transition to meet fifth generation approaches to operating and sustaining a fifth generation F-35A fleet as part of a global F-35 enterprise.
Australian industry participation in the F-35 Program
The Australian F-35A Project will transform Australian industry as it supports the F-35 capability and provides Australia with long-term economic benefits.
After consultation with the Department of Environment, a draft Environmental Impact Statement for the operation of the F-35A in Australia was released for public comment in 2014. After considering all factors, including public submissions, in July 2015 the Minister for the Environment approved F-35A flying operations in Australia subject to Defence meeting certain conditions. Defence continues to work with the Department of Environment to meet all conditions of approval.