Australia Receives First Two In-Country F-35s

The sun sets behind an Australian F-35A Lighting II at Luke AFB, Ariz., June 27?. (Note: This image was created by placing a reflective surface in front of the the camera lens.) Air Force photo by SSgt. Jensen Stidham.

Australia on Sunday received its first two F-35 strike fighters to be based in country at Royal Australian Air Force Williamtown.

Australia already has received 10 of the fifth-generation fighters, but the other aircraft are assigned to Luke AFB, Ariz., as part of the international cooperative F-35 training operations there, according to a Lockheed Martin release.

With the delivery, Australia is now the seventh country to locally base F-35s, joining the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Israel, and Japan.

“Australia plays a significant role in the program with the suite of local industrial technology and know-how behind the hundreds of F-35s flying today, as well as the thousands of F-35s that will be produced in the future,” said Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia Vince Di Pietro.

?More than 340 F-35s are now operating from 16 bases across the globe, including Williamtown. The total fleet has accumulated more than 170,000 flight hours, and more than 700 pilots and 6,500 maintainers have been training, according to Lockheed.