Australia is set to take delivery of its F-35 full mission simulator next year after the first simulator systems were delivered to the Israeli, Italian, Japanese and Norwegian air forces.
These were the first ever deliveries of this equipment to international F-35 operators.
Lockheed Martin says these simulators are critical components of the pilot training capability at F-35 operating bases in these four countries.
They will facilitate pilot qualification training, continuation training and mission rehearsal training.
“Lockheed Martin fully supports these customers and their F-35 training goals – we’re here to enable their success,” said Colleen Arthur, vice president of F-35 training at Lockheed Martin.
“Lockheed Martin has unparalleled experience and expertise in leading day-to-day F-35 training operations and we look forward to our continued partnerships with these important allies as they build their respective training programs.”
Lockheed Martin personnel assist with operations and maintenance of the simulators in-country for these partners, providing training, supporting scenario creation to achieve tactical training and ensuring the simulators are mission ready.
As the F-35 program prepares for full-rate production, pilot and maintenance trainers will be delivered to additional international F-35 customers beginning in 2018.
A spokeswoman for Lockheed said Australia’s simulator will arrive next year, as will Australia’s first F-35 aircraft.
The F-35 program continues to progress, with the first three Norwegian aircraft flying from Fort Worth, Texas, to touch down at Orland Main Air Station in Norway on the weekend.
Their arrival will be marked with an official welcome event on 10 November.
“Achieving this milestone is a major step towards increased operational capability for the future,” said Major General Morten Klever, Program Director for the F-35 program in Norway's Ministry of Defence.
“This is an historic event. The arrival of the first F-35 in Norway at this time shows that we have reached the timeline set for the acquisition. The program delivers on all key criteria: time, cost and performance.
“Today we are both proud and happy. The Royal Norwegian Air Force is looking forward to starting their training with the F-35.”
From 2018, Norway will receive six aircraft annually up until, and including, 2024.
Australia has taken delivery of two aircraft but they remain in the US as part of the international F-35 flight training pool at Luke US Air Force Base in Arizona.
The RAAF is looking to achieve initial operating capability in December 2020, with 12 aircraft in three squadrons at RAAF Williamtown plus six in a training squadron.
Full operating capability with 72 aircraft is planned for the end of 2023.