Australia has taken delivery of three new F-35A aircraft with Block 3F software from Lockheed Martin reaching an important milestone. The F-35A combat aircraft will provide Australia with a fifth-generation fighter jet at the forefront of air combat technology. This version of software improves warfighting capability with enhanced sensors, weapons capability and provides the full aircraft flight envelope.
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. 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.
Now Australia is the first international partner to accept F-35 fighter jets with Block 3F capability, and this is another key step towards introducing the aircraft into service. This is another significant point in the Joint Strike Fighter program.
The RAAF Royal Australian Air Force now has five aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, USA, where Australian pilots are currently training. Five more aircraft are 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 from supply chain work. In 2016, the F-35 Program supported more than 2,400 jobs across Australia, which is set to grow to 5,000 by 2023.
The Australian Government is investing in 72 F-35A Lightning II aircraft to replace the current fleet of 71 ageing F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.