Three more F-35A Joint Strike Fighters delivered to RAAF

by Alessandra Giovanzanti

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) received three new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters on 11 February, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 1 March.

The aircraft, which arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown, north of Sydney, after completing a three-day journey from the United States as part of ‘Exercise Lightning Ferry 21-1’, are the first to join the fleet since the F-35A reached initial operational capability in December 2020, said the DoD in a statement.

An Australian F-35A fighter (with serial number A35-033) is seen here touching down at RAAF Base Williamtown in February after transiting from the United States. (Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)

An Australian F-35A fighter (with serial number A35-033) is seen here touching down at RAAF Base Williamtown in February after transiting from the United States. (Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)

The aircraft were supported through their journey by two Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft from the RAAF’s No 33 Squadron and a Boeing C-17A Globemaster strategic transport aircraft from No 36 Squadron.

“We wouldn’t have been able to successfully ferry the aircraft to Australia if it wasn’t for the air-to-air refuelling and airlift capabilities of our Air Mobility Group aircraft,” said Commanding Officer of No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) Wing Commander Jordon Sander.

The three F-35As had previously been based at Luke Air Force Base in the US state of Arizona, where they were used for pilot training.

The RAAF now has a total of 33 F-35As in service with the No 3 Squadron and the 2OCU at RAAF Williamtown. The RAAF is expected to take delivery of 15 more F-35As in 2021, another 15 in 2022, and the final nine in 2023, for a total of 72 aircraft ordered under Project Air 6000 Phase 2A/2B. The fleet is expected to achieve final operating capability (FOC) in 2022–23.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/three-more-f-35a-joint-strike-fighters-delivered-to-raaf

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) received three new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint St...

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