Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

The Australian Government approved AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B to acquire 72 F-35A Lightning II aircraft, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, along with associated weapons, spares, support equipment, and infrastructure.

Australia’s F-35A fleet has replaced the F/A-18A/B Hornets. The F-35A Lightning II, in concert with F/A-18F Super Hornet and E/A-18G Growler, is a potent air combat capability mix that provides the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) with critical air combat power to meet Australia’s needs beyond 2030.

AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B declared Initial Operating Capability in December 2020 and has delivered 63 of the 72 aircraft approved by Government.

Australia is acquiring the F-35A as part of an international co-operative program led by the United States and, along with other international partners, contributes to the management and development of the F-35 air system. Under the co-operative agreement, partners bid for and win work on the global program on a best-value basis.

To date, Australian industry has been awarded over AU $4.1 billion worth of contracts with more than 70 companies involved.

To exploit the full potential of the fifth-generation F-35A, Australia is investing in a mission data reprogramming capability, information management systems, a comprehensive training capability, weapons, and maintenance capabilities.

The aircraft is supported in Australia by a system designed to meet our sovereign needs but integrated with the F-35 Global Support Solution (GSS). Within the GSS, the project is in the process of providing a regional support capability comprising airframe maintenance, engine maintenance, and warehousing.

In time, this will expand to include maintenance and repair for a range of system components in support of the expected global fleet of over 3,000 aircraft. An Australian company has already activated its F-35 Lightning II wheels and brakes repair depot in support of the Indo-Pacific region.

Australia has operated the F-35A since 2014 with initial training and operations at Luke Air Force Base in the USA. The first two Australian F-35A aircraft landed at RAAF Base Williamtown in December 2018, commencing the transition to an Australian-based operation. All maintenance training is now conducted at Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) following the opening of the Integrated Training Centre at Williamtown in 2018. The first RAAF F-35 Pilot Transition Course conducted by 2OCU was completed in September 2020. 75SQN commenced F-35A operations at RAAF Base Tindal in December 2021.

F-35A Lightning II | Air Force
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Content is current as at March 2024.