A F-35B prototype during flight trials on board LHD-1 USS Wasp (Image © US Navy)

Australia: We want shipborne F-35s!

A F-35B prototype during flight trials on board LHD-1 USS Wasp (Image © US Navy)
A F-35B prototype during flight trials on board LHD-1 USS Wasp (Image © US Navy)

The Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force will operate a shipborne version of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealthy fighter jet. Australia’s Defence Minister David Johnston told The Weekend West the second week of May 2014 that the government is considering buying the B-model, the same variant as the US Marine Corps is getting.

A yet to release number of F-35s are preliminary planned to fly from HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide, the new Landing Helicopter Ships (LDHs) that are currently starting to mark Australia’s come-back into the more strategic maritime role since the country stopped using the HMAS Melbourne in 1982. AIRheads↑Fly editor Marcel Burger wrote a much read article on the introduction of these new vessels in March this year.

Other sources within the Australian government confirm that a shipborne version of the F-35 has been considered for the LHDs from the moment the order for the vessels went out.

Despite all the pro-talk, if and when the Canberra and/or Adelaide will house the first Australian stealthy fighter jump jets is much subject to pricing and budget of course. For now the official order is “only” for 72 conventional F-35As for the RAAF, but like a government spokesperson confirmed – the door is open for more.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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