Australia Taking Delivery of F-35; Plans to Buy 72

An Australian defense spokesperson has confirmed that the country will accept delivery of its first F-35 Lightning II fighter on Thursday. Australia plans to purchase 72 F-35s, joining the United Kingdom, Japan, and six other nations partnered with the U.S. in the production of the fifth-generation fighter program.

The purchase of the F-35, according to Australia’s defense force statement, will complement the Royal Air Force’s current use of F-18 Hornets.

From the coverage:

The first F-35 will arrive in Australia in late 2018, the statement said, adding that new facilities and infrastructure worth $1.5 billion will be built to support the jets at Williamtown and Tindal.

The defense force’s website says Australia will form three operational F-35A squadrons, one at Tindal and two at Williamtown, which will also host a training squadron. The first F-35 squadron will be operational in 2021, and all 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.

In the future, a fourth operational squadron will be considered for Amberley, for a total of about 100 F-35A’s, the website states.

“The F-35A’s combination of stealth, advanced sensors, networking and data fusion capabilities, when integrated with other defence systems, will enable the RAAF to maintain an air combat edge,” the website states.

Click here to view the full article, and visit F35.com for more information on the Joint Strike Fighter program, and its international partners.