The first Australian Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II has made its very first flight, Lockheed Martin reported on Wednesday 1 October. F-35 Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman took the aircraft up on Monday 29 September and took it through a series of functional checks. The flight lasted two hours.
The aircraft, known as AU-1, is scheduled for delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force later this year and will be assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Australia and partner countries will use the jet for F-35A pilot training.
Australia is set to receive a total of 72 aircraft so far, making the country the largest F-35 customer after the US. The new aircraft will arrive from 2018 onwards and replace the aging Boeing F/A-18A and B Hornets that have been serving the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for many years. Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s rightist government is said to also consider a further 28 F-35s to replace newer Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft as well. This may bring the total number of F-35A Lightning II aircraft order by Canberra up to 100.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest