Australia will acquire a range of weapons and countermeasures costing AUD110 million (USD78 million) for use in “densely contested” environments by its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole fighters, Defence Minister Christopher Pyne disclosed on 6 April.
Pyne said the investment – under Project Air 6000 Phase 3 – is designed to ensure that weapons and decoys are available as Australia’s air combat fleet transitions from the Boeing FA-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet multirole fighter to the Joint Strike Fighter and the Super Hornet.
“A range of complementary weapons and countermeasures will be acquired to provide comprehensive options for use in densely contested environments,” Pyne said in the statement.
Weapon components will be supplied by Thales Australia and countermeasures by Chemring Australia, the statement added, but gave no further information.
Two days later Pyne announced the arrival of two more F-35As in Australia after the platforms completed various validation and verification activities in the US.
“I’m pleased to welcome our newest F-35As, A35-011, and A35-012, bringing the total number of aircraft in Australia to four,” said the minister, adding that the fighters are at RAAF Base Williamtown and will be assigned to Number 3 Squadron.
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