Pilot Wing Commander Jason Easthope in an Air Force F / A-18A Hornet aircraft from No.. 77 Squadron, taxis for the last time at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales.
The Australian F-35A Lightning II fleet has passed the final regulatory hurdle required to be operational.
Secretary of Defense Linda Reynolds said the Department of Defense « rigorously tested » the aircraft before granting it « first operational » status.
In the coming years, Australia will purchase 72 of the advanced fifth generation fighter jets under the $ 17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A / B program that aims to replace the aging classic F / A-18A / B hornets who have been in service with the RAAF since 1985.
The F-35A – the variant chosen by the RAAF – will be in service with an estimated service life of 30 years and will be stationed at RAAF Base Williamtown and Base Tindal.
« The Australian Defense Forces now have an F-35A squadron ready to perform technologically advanced strike and air combat roles, and another squadron dedicated to training world-class here in Australia, » said Minister Reynolds.
« While 2020 was a significant challenge for all of us and travel restrictions made it difficult for our aircraft to get into Australia, the tremendous efforts of defense, industry and our partners in the US made today’s achievement possible. ”
The initial operability is technically achieved when one or more subsets of the capability can be made available for operation. The decision to award the award is based on a consideration of « personnel, training, critical systems, supplies, facilities and training areas, logistics, support, command and management required to provide the required subset of skills ». .
The next regulatory hurdle is the « final operability », which is achieved when the « entire capability » can be used in operation.
The green light for the F-35A comes two months after a joint training exercise between the U.S. Air Force and the RAAF at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, which enabled Australia to develop its F-35 capability for declare fully functional. The RAAF currently has 30 in Australia.
The first F-35A was delivered in December 2018 and all 72 aircraft are expected to be cleared for combat by 2023.
The single-seat F-35 offers a full spectrum of stealth coatings and materials with low observability, advanced radar-dispersive shaping, network-centric sensors and communication suites, and strong impact capability.
The aircraft is available in three variants: The F-35A bought by Australia is a conventional CTOL (take-off and landing) version. The F-35B is a STOVL (Short Take Off / Vertical Landing) variant, and the final F-35C is the Carrier Type (CV). .
« The conventional take-off and landing variant F-35A (CTOL) is designed for operation on conventional runways and is the only version that carries an internal cannon, » says Lockheed Martin. “The F-35A will be the most popular variant of the F-35. The U. S.. . The Air Force as well as the majority of our Allied Air Forces and FMS (Foreign Military Sales) countries will operate the F-35A and their 3rd generation aircraft. and 4. Replace generation. ”
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Lockheed Martin F-35 Blitz II, F-35A, Australia, Royal Australian Air Force, Initial Service, RAAF Base Williamtown, Stealth Aircraft, Fighter Jets, Linda Reynolds, Secretary of Defense
World News – AU – Breaking: F-35A cleared for operation – Australian Aviation
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