In an historic day in Australian aviation, the first two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters to be permanently based in Australia arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown.
The Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, and Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP, were there to welcome the aircraft and RAAF fighter pilots who flew the final leg in the journey from Luke Air Force Base Arizona.
The Lockheed-Martin-built Joint Strike Fighter will be operated by nine partner nations, reaffirming and strengthening Australia’s alliance with the United States and other key international partners including the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark and Norway.
The two aircraft arrived in Australia following a cross-Pacific ferry from Luke Air Force Base Arizona and will be operated by the Air Force’s Number 3 Squadron. The F-35A Joint Strike Fighters will be based at RAAF Base Williamtown and at RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory.
In this video credited to Aviation Photography Digest, the arrival was highlighted.
According to Jaryd Stock this is what Air Vice Marshal Leigh Gordon head of the JSF program in Australia had to say about the arrival of the aircraft.
“We were able to operate 009 and 010 in the US as Australian sovereign operations — using our own airworthiness system and governance framework.
“We could effectively start verifying and validating the whole air system.”
Stock added: “The verification and validation program will take two years and will test the F-35s capabilities sin Australia leading up to initial operating capability which will be declared in December of 2020.
“The V&V programs aims is to assess both the aircraft and all of the support systems in Australia’ unique operating environment, ensuring the entire system meets Australia’s requirements.
“It will also continue the development of tactics and procedures undertaken to maximize Australia’s combat air power outputs.”