POWER: Australia has taken delivery of the next three F-35A aircraft from Lockheed Martin.
POWER: Australia has taken delivery of the next three F-35A aircraft from Lockheed Martin. RAAF

'Full war-fighting potential unlocked': F35A milestone

AUSTRALIA has taken delivery of the next three F-35A aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne MP congratulated Defence and Lockheed Martin on reaching the important milestone.

Ms Payne said that the Australian F-35 program was 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,” Ms 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.

"This is another key step towards introducing the aircraft into service before its arrival in Australia in December this year.”

Ms Pyne said that this is another significant point in the progression of the Joint Strike Fighter program.

"Australia now has five aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, USA, where our pilots are currently training. Five more aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2018,” she said.

"More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than $1 billion in production contracts to date, providing further opportunities to small and medium Australian businesses which benefit through supply chain work.”

In 2016, the F-35 Program supported more than 2400 jobs across Australia, which is set to grow to 5000 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