Australia’s first Lockheed Martin, F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, made its inaugural flight on Sept. 29, marking another significant milestone for the Royal Australian Air Force’s F-35 program. Lockheed Martin F-35 Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman, piloted the aircraft through a series of functional checks for the sortie that lasted two hours.
The aircraft, known as AU-1, is scheduled for delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force later this year and will be assigned to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Australia and partner countries will use the jet for F-35A pilot training.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft provides the Royal Australian Air Force with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and significant benefits for the Australian aerospace industry. Australian industry already has more than $412 million (USD) contracted.
The F-35 Lightning II is the world’s most advanced military aircraft and for more than a decade, the U.S. and its allies have invested in developing this fifth-generation, international, multirole fighter aircraft serving as a cornerstone of global security in the 21st century. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.