Less than 500 days remain until the first two Australian F-35A aircraft arrive in Australia for permanent basing in Williamtown.
The first F-35A support facility, the Off Board Information Systems Centre, was officially opened last month and will support the Australian ALIS (Autonomic Logistics Information System) as part of almost $1 billion worth of work being undertaken to transform Williamtown ready to support F-35A operations.
The Air Force’s Director Air Combat Transition Office, Group Captain Glen Beck, told CASG (Capability, Acquisition and Sustainment Group) the F-35A capability will transform the way Air Force does business.
"The new technology is very exciting, but getting our people ready to operate this large, global and technologically complex capability will be critical to our success," said Group Captain Beck.
"While the facilities and aircraft are very tangible, the less tangible work like setting up a different workforce and systems to support fifth generation maintenance, logistics, training and operations is where our effort is focused.
"Australia will be standing up squadrons in relatively quick succession between 2019 and 2023 and we need to be prepared to take on that challenge as we prepare our first ferry next year and integration beyond.
"We have recently finished a range of workshops involving Australian F-35A operators currently based in the US, to cover different scenarios to ensure we can operate the F-35A safely and effectively in the Australian environment."
The first two Australian F-35A aircraft arrive in December 2018 and in early 2019 RAAF will start verifying and validating processes for operating the F-35A in the Australian context.
Australia’s next lot of eight F-35A Joint Strike Fighters will be delivered in 2018. Six of these aircraft will initially operate as part of the pool of aircraft at the F-35 Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base.
And as the global F-35 Program recently surpassed 100,000 flying hours, with Australia's F-35A flying more than 1,000 hours, Australia’s third F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, A35-003, is edging closer to production completion, after receiving its Australian-made vertical tail.