RAAF fighter on
The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) first Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has entered the major assembly stage at the Lockheed-Martin facility in Fort Worth, Texas.
Major components of the first Australian aircraft are now being joined together to form the aircraft’s structure.
Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation, Warren King said that the first F-35, known as AU-1, was now on the assembly line and would roll out of the factory for delivery to the RAAF in the summer of 2014.
“Importantly 14 Australian companies are currently under contract and building parts for the F-35 as part of the global supply chain,” Mr King said.
“Australian industry is expected to gain several billion dollars in opportunities over the life of the F-35 program.”
He said almost every F-35 being built had some Australian parts and components.
Mr King said the F-35 was a fifth generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment.
“Of the three variants being produced, Australia is acquiring the Conventional Take-Off and Landing F-35A variant,” he said.
“When integrated into a networked Australian Defence Force, the F-35 will fulfil the functions of air dominance and strike capability currently provided by F/A-18A/B Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets.”
He said a commitment to acquire the first 14 JSF aircraft and associated support equipment at a cost of around $3.2 billion was made in 2009.
Edition 383, 15 October 2013