• Credit: Nigel Pittaway
    Credit: Nigel Pittaway

Updated 12:00, 08 April

The next two F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft have arrived in Australia.

“I’m pleased to welcome our newest F-35As, A35-011 and A35-012, bringing the total number of aircraft in Australia to four,” Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said. 

“After completing various validation and verification activities in the United States, these aircraft have now arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown and will be assigned to Number 3 Squadron.”

The first two aircraft arrived at RAAF Williamtown on December 10 last year. 

The first aircraft delivered in 2019 are part of 141 aircraft produced in LRIP 11 by Lockheed Martin. The 102 F-35As produced in LRIP 11 will be the first to cost less than US$90 million (AU$127.6 million) per copy.

Minister Reynolds said the F-35A program has provided significant opportunities for Australian industry.

“More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in over $1.3 billion in global F-35A production contracts to date, employing more than 2,400 Australians,” Minister for Defence Industry Senator Linda Reynolds said.

“More opportunities are expected for Australian companies as production continues, with Australian industry involvement expected to exceed $2 billion by 2023 and employ 5,000 people nationally.”

Separatly, the Ministers also announced that Hunter-based Nupress Tools and F-35 Program prime contractor Pratt & Whitney have signed a seven-year multi-million dollar contract to produce precision machined small parts for the F135 engine.

“The small machined parts Nupress will manufacture for the F135 engine include components such as brackets, clamps, tubes and adaptors,” Senator Reynolds said.

“Under this contract Nupress expect to produce 50 per cent of the global supply of five engine components for Pratt & Whitney,” Minister Pyne said.

Australia will take delivery of eight F-35A aircraft in 2019 and at least 72 aircraft over the life of the program.

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