Joint Strike Fighter to Make Australian Debut At the Australian International Airshow
(Source: Australian Department of Defence; issued Feb 07, 2017)
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today announced that Australia’s two F-35A Joint Strike Fighters will make their first appearance in Australia at the Australian International Airshow.

Minister Payne said it was fitting the aircraft would make its first visit down under in time for the airshow, which comes one year after the Turnbull Government released the 2016 Defence White Paper that sets out a plan to create a more capable, agile and potent Australian Defence Force.

“The Joint Strike Fighter will be joined at the Airshow by Australia’s first EA-18G Growler,” Minister Payne said.

“Together, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and the EA-18 G Growler represent a potent and technologically advanced air combat and strike capability that is essential to our ability to defend Australia and our national interests.

“Australia is the only country outside the United States operating the EA-18G Growler and its arrival represents a significant leap forward in our capability, introducing a dedicated electronic attack capability for the first time.”

Minister Pyne said this would be one of the most exciting airshows the ADF had organised, representing a significant occasion for defence industry.

“The EA-18G Growler and F-35A Lightning II represent the latest in cutting edge aviation technology, and include some of the very best of Australian industry,” he said.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the Australian public to see the future of aviation.

“The F-35A will bring significant opportunities to Australian industry, with already over $800 million in local design and production work, which is expected to grow significantly as the programme matures and production increases,” Minister Pyne said.

“Australian industry will continue to benefit when the jets are in service after Australia was selected as the JSF sustainment and maintenance hub for Asia and the Pacific following negotiations with the United States during my visit in October,” Mr Pyne said.

The first two F-35A aircraft, AU-001 and AU-002 will arrive at the airshow on Friday 3 March, returning to the United States via RAAF Base Amberley allowing Australian pilots to continue their training. The visit is a significant contribution by the United States Air Force Training Command, and Lockheed Martin to facilitate the deployment from Luke Air Force Base during their training period.

The F-35A will enter Australian service from late 2018, to replace the ageing FA-18A/B ‘Classic’ Hornets. Australia is a strategic partner in the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and has committed to 72 aircraft.


Exclusive: Controversial F-35 to Visit Australia at Avalon Air Show (excerpt)
(Source: Australian Broadcasting Corp.; posted Jan 07, 2017)
By Andrew Greene
More than a decade after Australia first joined the American-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, one of the controversial fifth-generation fighter aircraft will finally visit the country.

The ABC has confirmed the F-35 will be the star attraction at the Avalon Air Show to be held outside Melbourne at the end of February.

An official familiar with planning for the event said secrecy surrounding the cutting-edge technology on the JSF had complicated arrangements, including finding a suitable hangar for the aircraft.

The Federal Government is preparing to spend $17 billion on 72 F-35 aircraft, with the first expected to be delivered to Australia in 2018 and enter service in 2020.

In 2002, the Howard government decided to join the multi-billion dollar JSF program at the invitation of the United States, but its progress has been plagued by controversy and cost blowouts ever since.

In December, US President Donald Trump blasted the project, tweeting the cost blowouts associated with the Lockheed Martin aircraft were "out of control" and vowing to save billions of dollars in military purchases when he came into office.

Shortly after Mr Trump's comments, Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne insisted the JSF was the right option for Australia and the US.

"We're very confident that the JSF is the right jet for Australia and for the United States and rest of the world," Mr Pyne told reporters in London.

Last year, Royal Australian Air Force Chief Leo Davies launched a strident defence of the controversial multi-billion-dollar JSF program, insisting he had "absolutely no reservations" it was the right aircraft to replace the Classic Hornet. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the ABC website.


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