Page 8 - Australian Defence Magazine Dec 2018 - Jan 2019
P. 8

First Australian F-35s at RAAF Williamtown
AFTER a 16-year wait, Australia’s first two locally-based F-35A Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) touched down at RAAF William- town on December 10, 2018.
The event was attended by Governor-Gen- eral Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor of NSW GEN (Ret’d) David Hurley, Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne, Minister for De- fence Industry Steven Ciobo, Lockheed Mar- tin CEO Marillyn Hewson, and head of the F-35 program VADM Mat Winter, alongside RAAF’s 3 Squadron and their families.
The two fighters flew to RAAF William- town from RAAF Amberley following a flight across the Pacific from Luke AFB, Arizona where they have been in the inter- national training pool since coming off the production line.
“This is the most advanced, multi-role stealth fighter in the world,” Minister Pyne said in his address. “It will deliver
next generation capability benefits and provide a major boost to our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnais- sance capabilities.
“The JSF can get closer to
threats undetected; find, engage, and jam electronic signals from targets; and share in- formation with other platforms.
“The JSF is the largest acquisition in the history of the RAAF. In Australia’s im- mediate region, Japan and South Korea are in the process of procuring the F-35A, and are closely aligned with Australia’s pursuit of shared strategic, security, and economic interests,” Minister Pyne said.
Whilst the two F-35As at Williamtown are the first to arrive in-country, eight fur- ther aircraft have been delivered to the RAAF at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, for pilot training. Australian F-35s have flown over 1,800 hours.
In addition, over 50 Australian compa- nies have shared in over $1 billion in produc-
tion contracts, with significant percentages of that share in specialised manufacturing and professional or scientific services.
65 per cent of Australian production con- tracts for the aircraft have come from Vic- toria, with 13 per cent from NSW and nine per cent from both Queensland and SA.
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Da- vies was visibly excited as he took the po- dium to commemorate the occasion.
“How do you excite a RAAF chief?” he asked, pointing to the F-35As. “Whilst it’s a modest beginning with just two jets, a dozen pilots and 40 maintainers... this represents the transformation of Air Force. We are evolving our structure and the way we train.
“Today, ladies and gentlemen, the naysay- ers can take a seat.”
Defence takes delivery of F-35 cabins
THE first two of 15 F-35A deployable cabins were delivered to the ADF at the end of No- vember, marking an important milestone in the Australian JSF program only weeks before the first two jets arrived in Australia.
The Deployable Duty Facility (DDF) cabins are an essential component of the de- ployable information systems capability for the F-35, and are now undertaking fit-out at RAAF Base Williamtown.
“The deployable cabins are an evolution- ary development and play a critical role in operating and maintaining Australia’s F-35 fleet whether from their home base or de- ployed further afield,” Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia Vince Di Pi- etro said. “When operating the F-35, off- board information systems are required to operate seamlessly in operational scenarios, and these Australian built and designed cabins make this possible.”
The standard ISO sized cabins meet the highest-level specifications for transport by air, land or sea.
“The standard ISO sized cabins meet the highest-level specifications for transport by air, land or sea, security and sustainment and their digital systems are optimised for ADF operations.”
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said the Commonwealth’s formal accep- tance of the deployable facilities was an im-
portant milestone for the full operation of RAAF’s F-35A aircraft.
“The deployable cabins are a critical part of operating and maintaining the Air Force’s new fighter aircraft, whenever they are deployed away from their future homes at RAAF Bases Williamtown and Tindal,” Minister Pyne said. “All 15 deployable cabins will provide transportable, secure workspaces for personnel to support operations and maintenance activi- ties as part of the future networked ADF.
“What we delivered together was not just a secure environment for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilots to be briefed in; we delivered a real example of the federal government’s vi- sion for Australia’s defence industry and its jobs and growth commitment to the coun- try,” Jeff Phillips, Managing Director of Var- ley Group, said. “The project was delivered on-time, using a local innovative engineer- ing design and manufacturing, with Austra- lian steel, using local Hunter workers.”
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