First Australian Joint Strike Fighter takes shape
10 October 2013
Chief Executive Officer of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) Mr Warren King today announced 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.
Mr King said major components of the first Australian aircraft are now being joined together to form the aircraft’s structure.
“Known as AU-1, Australia’s first F-35 will now make its way down the assembly line and roll out of the factory for delivery to the RAAF in the summer of 2014,” Mr King said.
“Importantly 14 Australian companies are currently under contract and building parts for the F-35 as part of the global supply chain.
“Australian industry is expected to gain several billion dollars in industry opportunities over the life of the F-35 program.”
Mr King paid credit to Australian industry with almost every F-35 built having some Australian parts and components.
The F-35 is a 5th generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, advanced mission systems, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and cutting-edge sustainment.
Mr King said of the three variants being produced, Australia is acquiring the Conventional Take-Off and Landing (CTOL) F-35A variant.
“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,” Mr King 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.
AU-1 and the second Australian F-35 aircraft, AU-2, will be delivered in the course of 2014 in the United States for testing and training purposes.
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