First two F-35A Fighter Jets arrived in RAAF Williamtown Australia
F-35A Lightning II serialled A35-009 and A35-010, in the colors of the 3 SQN, arrived at their new home base at RAAF Williamtown, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, on Dec. 10, 2018.
With the arrival of the first two aircraft, Australia becomes the 7th nation with F-35 aircraft based locally on their home soil, and with the formal stand-up of RAAF Williamtown, F-35s are now operating from 16 bases worldwide.
They’re the first F-35As to be based on Australian soil and belong to Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 3 Squadron.
The aircraft, which had departed Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, on Dec. 3, arrived overhead RAAF Williamtown alongside four “legacy” Hornets (one of those was the camera ship from which most of the images you can find in this post were shot): A21-39, A21-38 and A21-109, representing the 77 SQN, 75SQN, 2 OCU, were among them, based on the photographs released thus far.
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 Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said the Joint Strike Fighter will be a game-changer for the Australian Defence Force.
“This is the most advanced, multi-role stealth fighter in the world. It will deliver next-generation capability benefits and provide a major boost to our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” Minister Pyne said.
“The Joint Strike Fighter can get closer to threats undetected; find, engage and jam electronic signals from targets; and share information with other platforms.”
Before the 5th generation aircraft touched down on home soil for the very first time, the formation flew over Nelson Bay, Stockton Beach, and Newcastle.
The Government is investing over $17 billion to acquire at least 72 Joint Strike Fighters.
“The Joint Strike Fighter is the largest acquisition in the history of the Royal Australian Air Force, and is a key part of the Government’s $200 billion builds up in Defence capability,” Minister Pyne said.
According to LM, Australian suppliers play a significant role in the F-35 program with more than 50 Australian companies contributing to the global program of record of more than 3,000 aircraft. To date, the F-35 program has secured more than 2,400 highly skilled jobs created and generated more than $1.3 billion AUD in contracts for Australian industry.