The F-35A Lightning II is the Australian Defence Force’s first fifth-generation air combat capability. It is a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter which will meet Australia’s requirements to defeat current and emerging threats.
The F-35A is at the forefront of air combat technology. Advanced sensors and data fusion allow it to gather and share information faster than ever before. Capable of supersonic flight while retaining stealth, the F-35A has extraordinary acceleration, agility and 9G manoeuvrability. The F-35A also provides its pilots with significantly higher levels of lethality and survivability in combat.
The F-35A is characterised by:
- a low observable design
- internal weapons and fuel carriage
- advanced radar
- electro-optical and infrared sensors
- advanced voice and data link communications
- the ability to employ a wide range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons.
Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at:
- RAAF Base Williamtown
- RAAF Base Tindal
- a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.
On 17 July 2015, the Department of Environment and Energy published the approval decision for the flying operations of the F-35A after considering the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The first F-35A aircraft was accepted into Australian service in 2018. The first F-35A squadron, No. 3 Squadron, became operational in 2021. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.
|Role||Fifth generation, multi role fighter|
|Wing span||10.7 m|
|Weight||13,290 kg (empty), 29,900 kg (max)|
|Engines||Pratt & Whitney F135-PW-100|
|Combat radius (internal fuel)||1093 km|
|Internal Fuel Capacity||8278 kg|
|Max Speed||1,960 km/h (Mach 1.6)|
|Weapon Payload||8160 kg|