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Australia approves more F-35s, ends classic Hornet pilot conversion

12 December 2019
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With 18 F-35As now delivered to the RAAF in Australia and the United States, the Australian government has approved the purchase of a further 24 to bring the country's total commitment to 72. Source: US Air Force

Australia has approved the procurement of 24 more Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, the Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 12 December.

The approval from Defence Minister Linda Reynolds came on the same day that a further seven F-35s arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales, and a day after the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF's) 2 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) flew its final flight on the Boeing F/A-18A/B 'classic' Hornet.

With the additional F-35s now approved, Australia is committed to its total programme-of-record of 72 aircraft (though it has a stated requirement of 100 aircraft). Including the most recent arrivals to Williamtown, the RAAF has now received 18 aircraft (five of these remain at Luke Air Force Base [AFB] in the United States for international pilot training).

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