Australia’s F-35A Lightning II capability has taken a step forward with the opening of the Australian and UK F-35 Reprogramming Laboratory.
Located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Reprogramming Laboratory is a joint partnership between Australia and the UK.
The Reprogramming Laboratory will support Australian and UK F-35s by developing, verifying, validating and issuing F-35 MDFs for Australian and UK-fielded F-35s. Both countries are co-funding and supporting the capability under a 50/50 funding arrangement.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said this new capability will enable the F-35 to be a “smart” aircraft.
“The Reprogramming Laboratory produces Mission Data Files (MDFs for Australian and UK F-35s) which compiles information about the operating environment and assets in an area, before being loaded onto the aircraft pre-flight using a portable hard drive,” Minister Reynolds said.
“Combined with the aircraft’s advance sensor suite, this provides the pilot with a clearer battlespace picture.
The F-35A is expected to achieve Initial Operating Capability in December 2020, and Final Operating Capability in late 2023.