22 Juli 2014
AU-1, seen here being towed to the paintshop, will be officially rolled out on July 24. (photo : Lockheed Martin)
The first of up to 100 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters for the RAAF will be formally rolled out on July 24.
The aircraft – designated AU-1 – will be ceremonially handed over to RAAF and government officials at the company’s Fort Worth facility.
It will then be taken to a flight line hangar for final work before first flight, and will subsequently be delivered to the USAF’s F-35 schoolhouse at Luke AFB in Arizona where it will be pooled with other US and partner nation F-35As for training.
At present only two F-35As have been contracted by Australia, while long-lead items for a follow-on batch of 12 aircraft have also been paid for. A further 58 F-35As have been approved by government, and these will be ordered as the production lots for these aircraft are contracted by the US government.
The RAAF’s first two F-35A pilots are due to commence training on the aircraft late this year and early next year.