RAAF Welcomes First Two F-35A Fighters, First Two PC-21 Trainers

Enter the Fifth-Generation F-35A Lightning II

(Source: Royal Australian Air Force; issued March 03, 2017)

In their first sortie south of the Equator, the RAAF’s first two Lockheed F-35A fighters have flown to the Avalon air show, near Melbourne, where they share the spotlight with the service’s first two Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainers. (AUS DoD photo)

In an exhilarating day for Australian military air power, the F-35A Lightning II made its public debut at the Australian International Airshow.

After a journey of about 15,000km Australia’s first two F-35As displayed their power and manoeuvrability in the sky above Avalon Airport before landing in front of an enthused crowd.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne, and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, met the F-35A pilots WGCDR Andrew Jackson and SQNLDR David Bell and their support crew before speaking to the media.

Mr Turnbull said it was an exciting day for Air Force, Australian industry, technology and Australian jobs.

“The F-35A is the most advanced fighter in the world,” he said. “We need to ensure our Defence force have the best capabilities and the greatest lethality.”

The F-35A is a key addition to Australia’s strategic capability and a critical component of the $195 billion defence investment.

The government is purchasing and will maintain 72 aircraft as part of the global Joint Strike Fighter program which will give Air Force the capability to combat future air threats to the nation.

Senator Payne said there wasn’t anything like the landing of two F-35As in Australia to make a defence minister’s day.

“This acquisition has been 15 years in the making and will make a game-changing difference to Air Force capability,” she said.

“The F-35A will provide the Air Force with the ability to execute air combat missions which were previously beyond our scope.”

The F-35A’s cutting edge stealth technology, sensors and the ability to share information across advanced networks will significantly strengthen the RAAF’s combat ability.

Acquiring F-35A aircraft will also reinforce the ability of our Air Force to operate seamlessly with the United States and our coalition partners to support our shared strategic interests.

Mr Pyne said the JSF program was maximising Australian industry involvement.

“Already 32 Australian companies had reaped about $800 million in value into their businesses,” he said.

The F-35A’s visit is an important step in Air Force’s transformation into a fifth-generation air force.

Click here for the transcript of the related March 3 press conference by the Australian Prime Minister


First Australian PC-21 Aircraft to Make Appearance at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon

(Source: Lockheed Martin; issued March 02, 2017)

AVALON, Australia --- In a presentation that marks a significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training Program, today the Lockheed Martin led delivery team welcomed the arrival of the first two of 49 PC-21 aircraft with the Royal Australian Air Force.

The PC-21 is a key element of the AIR 5428 program and, along with state-of-the-art training simulations and an electronic learning environment, will form part of Australia’s new Pilot Training System; a system designed to train next-generation pilots faster and to a higher standard.

The occasion was celebrated at a media event hosted by Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies today, in front of two aircraft at the Avalon International Airshow. Also in attendance was the Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP and the Hon. Darren Chester MP, Member for Gippsland, highlighting the significance of the program to the Australian Government.

Amy Gowder, vice president and general manager of Training and Logistics Solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business attended the event and presented the Chief of Air Force with a painting of the aircraft.

“Today’s event marks 14 months since we signed the AIR 5428 contract with the Australian Defence Force, said Gowder. Much progress has been made, not just in the delivery of the aircraft here today, but also we are well prepared to deliver the first flight training device later this year.”

“We recognise that for the next few decades and beyond every pilot that graduates from this program will be key to delivering the fifth-generation aviation capability of the Navy, Army and Air Force.”

Lockheed Martin and our industry partners Pilatus Aircraft and Hawker Pacific are responsible for delivering the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System. The system will provide improved training capability. This team has been delivering exceptional results in Australia for the Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia since 2008.

Delivery of the first AIR 5428 Flight Training Device system is expected in August 2017.

Headquartered in Canberra, Lockheed Martin Australia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Lockheed Martin Australia and its related entities employ more than 800 people in Australia and New Zealand working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence, maritime civil sector.

Established in 1939, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd is the world's leading manufacturer of single-engine turboprop aircraft. Headquartered in Stans, Switzerland, Pilatus is a privately held company employing close to 2000 people. Pilatus provides aircraft and aviation services worldwide for the general aviation, commercial, training, utility, and special mission markets. The company, through Pilatus Australia Pty Ltd, currently supports over 140 Australian based military and civil aircraft.

Hawker Pacific Pty Ltd was formed in 1978 with its corporate headquarters in Sydney NSW, employs over 400 people across Australia and has significant aviation sales and support capabilities across the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Hawker Pacific’s Government Business unit is the prime contractor to the ADF delivering the B300 aircraft capability to 32 and 38 Squadrons at RAAF Bases East Sale and Townsville, holding AMO and AEO accreditation. At RAAF Base Pearce, Hawker Pacific has successfully provided maintenance support to the Singapore Air Force PC‑21 aircraft training capability in synergy with Lockheed Martin and Pilatus since 2007.


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