Home' Air Force News : December 10th 2009 Contents IMPRESSIVE ACQUISITION: Throngs of people checked out the F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter aircraft at the Australian International Airshow 2009 at Avalon
earlier this year.
Photo: LAC Aaron Curran
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AIR FORCE December 10, 2009
AUSTRALIA'S first F-35 Joint
Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft will be
delivered in the United States in
2014 -- after the Government ap-
proved the acquisition of the first
CAF AIRMSHL Mark Binskin
said the JSF acquisition would allow
Australia to maintain its regional air
"It will also enable Australia to
effectively contribute to regional
security and enhance opportunities
for interoperability and commonal-
ity to support future coalition opera-
tions," he said.
Defence Minister Senator John
Faulkner announced on November
25 that the Australian Government
had approved acquisition of the
first 14 Conventional Take-Off and
Landing (CTOL) JSFs and infra-
structure and support required for
initial training and testing at an esti-
mated cost of $3.2 billion.
As soon as the first aircraft is
delivered in the US in 2014, test
activities will begin.
The first operational squad-
ron will be based at RAAF Base
Williamtown, and is planned to be
ready for operations in 2018.
All three operational squadrons
are planned to be in service in 2021.
Senator Faulkner said the
Government had examined the
JSF's capabilities very carefully as
part of the Air Combat Capability
Review and 2009 Defence White
Paper deliberations, and remained
confident that the JSF's combi-
nation of stealth, advanced sen-
sors, networking and data fusion
capabilities, when integrated into
the networked ADF, would ensure
Australia maintains its strategic
capability advantage out to 2030.
He said approval of the next
batch of aircraft and all necessary
support and enabling capabilities,
sufficient to establish three opera-
tional squadrons and a training
squadron of CTOL JSF, would be
considered in 2012.
"This will fulfil our White Paper
commitment to acquire three oper-
ational squadrons comprising not
fewer than 72 aircraft," Senator
F-35 LIGHTNING II
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin
Role: Stealth multi-role strike/fighter aircraft
Engine: either the Pratt & Whitney F-135 turbofan or
the General Electrics Rolls-Royce F-136 turbofan
Range: 1100km (combat), 2200km max
Max speed: Mach 1.67 (2065km/h)
Weapons: A wide range of air-to-air and air-to-ground
missiles and bombs, including AMRAAM, ASRAAM,
JADAM, laser-guided ordnance, 'dumb' ordnance,
25mm internal gun (external mount optional).
Weapons hard points: 4 internal, 6 external
(Statistics per the RAAF website and open sources)
Green light for JSFs
"By 2012, Defence will have
much firmer cost estimates for the
remaining aircraft and necessary
support and enabling capabilities
as part of the planned first multi-
year buy that is expected to com-
prise over 1000 aircraft for the
US, Australia and other partners.
"This will allow for much more
effective planning of the final JSF
acquisition in the context of the
overall Defence Capability Plan."
Senator Faulkner said acqui-
sition of an additional operation-
al squadron -- bringing the total
number of JSF aircraft to about 100
-- would be considered at a later
date in conjunction with a deci-
sion on the withdrawal of the Super
$3.2 billion to
be spent on
first 14 aircraft
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