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 F-35 arrives Down Under

The Lockheed Martin F-35 celebrated its very first appearance in Australia on Monday 27 February. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) ferried its first two F-35As all the way from the US  to Down Under to participate in the Australian International Airshow in Avalon from 28 February until 5 March.

The jets touched Australian soil for the first time as they arrived at Amberley airbase in northwest Australia shortly after 5.00pm local time. They departed Luke Air Force Base in Arizona last week, where they  are used for RAAF-pilot training.

So far, Australia has committed to 72 F-35As, which are to equip a total of three squadrons at Williamtown airbase and Tindal airbase. They will first enter operational service with the RAAF in 2020. A further order for 28 more aircraft may very well be on the cards, which will then form a fourth squadron at Amberley airbase.

The Australian International Airshow should also see the debut of the first EA-18 Growlers for the Royal Australian Air Force.

© 2017 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35, seen here at Luke Air Force Base.  (Image © Staff Sgt. Staci Miller / USAF)

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