The tenth F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) to be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force has arrived at US Air Force Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in Arizona, joining Australia’s other JSF aircraft on the flightline.
Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne and the Minister for Defence Industry, Steven Ciobo said the delivery of Australia’s tenth JSF was an important milestone in the Australian JSF Project.
“Our tenth JSF was delivered to RAAF’s No. 3 Squadron at Luke AFB last week following a range of acceptance testing activities authorising delivery,” Minister Pyne said.
“This is a key milestone in our acquisition of the JSF, which is the most advanced, affordable fifth-generation multi-role stealth fighter to meet Australia’s need to defeat emerging threats well into the future.”
In a significant achievement for the Australian JSF Project, our ninth and tenth aircraft will operate on the Australian Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) which performs maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35A fleet.
ALIS was first housed in the F-35A Off-Board Information Systems Centre (OBISC) in July 2017. The OBISC facility provides the sovereign ability to independently verify and test ALIS and its sub-components to establish their impact on the Australian F-35A capability. It also provides a facility in which Air Force can develop and test new processes in an isolated environment without impacting operations.
“Until now, all aircraft deliveries went to the F-35 International Pilot Training Centre, which required RAAF maintainers to perform ALIS-related tasks using the American system,” Minister Pyne said.
“Operating on Australian ALIS is an important achievement before the JSFs arrive in Australia in December this year.”
Minister for Defence Industry, Steven Ciobo, said Australian industry was critical in the establishment of the Australian ALIS.
“Lockheed Martin ALIS administrators and maintenance technicians have been directly supporting the RAAF’s operations at Luke AFB,” Minister Ciobo said.
“Effective collaboration between Defence and industry is essential to the Australian F-35A Project and it is pleasing to see continued success in this area.”
More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than $1 billion in global JSF production contracts to date.
In the 2016 Defence White Paper, the Government confirmed that it plans to equip the Air Force with 72 F-35A aircraft by 2023, to meet Final Operating Capability.
The Australian F-35A Project is on track to meet Initial Operating Capability in December 2020.
In addition to acquiring 72 aircraft, the project will also deliver facilities, weapons and new support systems to meet the fifth generation requirements. The workforce will also need to transition to meet fifth generation approaches to operating and sustaining a fifth generation F-35A fleet as part of a global F-35 network.