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First Lockheed Martin F-35 For Australia Takes Shape In Fort Worth

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World Air Force News - Lockheed Martin - Australia - F-35
 
 
First Lockheed Martin F-35 For Australia Takes Shape In Fort Worth.
 
Lockheed Martin and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) celebrated the beginnings of the first F-35 Lightning II for Australia yesterday. The aircraft, designated as AU-1, officially began the mate process, where major components of the aircraft are joined together to form the aircraft’s structure. AU-1 will then make its way down the assembly line and roll out of the factory for delivery to the RAAF in the summer of 2014.
     
Lockheed Martin and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) celebrated the beginnings of the first F-35 Lightning II for Australia yesterday. The aircraft, designated as AU-1, officially began the mate process, where major components of the aircraft are joined together to form the aircraft’s structure. AU-1 will then make its way down the assembly line and roll out of the factory for delivery to the RAAF in the summer of 2014.
Australia’s first F-35A Lightning II in the factory in Fort Worth, Texas. (photo credit: Lockheed Martin)
     

Jeff Babione, Lockheed Martin Vice President and Deputy Program Manager for F-35, highlighted the ongoing partnership between Lockheed Martin and Australia. “Today marks a new beginning for tactical aviation for Australia,” said Babione. “Lockheed Martin is proud of our long and storied relationship with Australian aviation, and now, the F-35 will ensure that the relationship with the RAAF and Australian Industry remains strong for decades to come.”

The global supply chain for the F-35 currently has 14 Australian companies under contract and building parts for the F-35. Australian industry is expected to gain up to $6.3 billion USD in industry opportunities over the life of the F-35 program. Every F-35 built will have some Australian parts and components.

The occasion also marked a longstanding history between Lockheed Martin and Australia’s Defence Forces, beginning with the Lockheed Vega, F-111 and continuing with the F-35. Australia’s first two F-35s, now in production, will be delivered to the RAAF next year.

Australia still intends to buy 100 F-35A (conventional variant) for the moment with the F-35 expected to join the Forces in 2019.