The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base on 18 December 2014. The jet's arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)

First Australian F-35 starts real flight training

The first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II of the Royal Australian Air Force has landed at Luke AFB on 18 December. The RAAF is thereby the first of ten non-US F-35 operator to start training with the new stealthy multi-role fighter at what will be the home of US-based F-35 training.

It is expected that Turkey, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea and Israel will join the US Air Force and the RAAF at Luke somewhere in the near future. Luke has already housed pilots and maintenance personnel from Singapore and Taiwan, but that’s for the F-16 fighter.

The RAAF F-35s will train in partnership with the 61st Fighter Squadron. Italy and Norway are expected to start flight training in September 2015 with the new to commission 62nd Fighter Squadron.

Source: US Air Force

The 17th Luke Air Force Base F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke AFB on 18 December 2014. The jet accompanied the first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II to arrive here. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)
The 17th Luke Air Force Base F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke AFB on 18 December 2014. The jet accompanied the first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II to arrive here. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)

The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base on 18 December 2014. The jet's arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)
The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base on 18 December 2014. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke. (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)
The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base on 18 December 2014. The jet's arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke. (Image © Pedro Mota / USAF)
The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at Luke Air Force Base on 18 December 2014. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke. (Image © Pedro Mota / USAF)