Australia’s 10th F-35A has been delivered to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, joining the RAAF’s other fifth-generation aircraft on the flight line.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Industry Steven Ciobo said the delivery of Australia’s 10th JSF was an important milestone in the Australian JSF Project.
AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B is introducing a fifth-generation air combat capability to meet Australia’s air combat needs beyond 2030. Australia’s F-35As will fulfil the functions of air dominance and strike capability currently provided by F/A-18A/B Hornets.
Minister Pyne highlighted the importance of this delivery and and the roll-out of the Australian Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS).
"Until now, all aircraft deliveries went to the F-35 international Pilot Training Centre, which required RAAF maintainers to perform ALIS-related tasks using the American system," he said.
"Operating on Australian ALIS is an important achievement before the JSFs arrive in Australia in December this year."
In a significant achievement for the Australian JSF Project, Australia's ninth and 10th aircraft will operate on the Australian ALIS, which performs maintenance management, fault diagnostics, supply support, mission planning and training management across the F-35A fleet.
"Our 10th JSF was delivered to the RAAF’s No. 3 Squadron at Luke AFB last week following a range of acceptance testing activities authorising delivery," Minister Pyne said.
ALIS integrates a broad range of capabilities including operations, maintenance, prognostics, supply chain, customer support services, training and technical data. A single, secure information environment provides users with up-to-date information on any of these areas using web-enabled applications on a distributed network.
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ALIS turns data from many sources into actionable information, enabling pilots, maintainers and military leaders to make proactive decisions to keep jets flying.
Lockheed Martin Australia’s F-35 Program Manager, Andy Doyle, said the company congratulates the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on receiving its 10th F-35A aircraft.
"We look forward to our involvement in supporting the RAAF in the transition of F-35A aircraft to RAAF Base Williamtown later this year and to the ongoing provision of F-35 Original Equipment Manufacturer sustainment services in Australia in the years ahead, including technical, logistics, information systems and training support," Doyle said.
This announcement follows the delivery of key sustainment, maintenance and support equipment, including ALIS training equipment for Australia's F-35s at RAAF Williamtown in August of this year.
Andy Doyle said at the time the support equipment being delivered to RAAF Base Williamtown as a key enabler to RAAF F-35 operations, "Lockheed Martin is also establishing a field services team at RAAF Base Williamtown during 2018 that will comprise approximately 80 staff, including aircraft maintenance, logistics and information system support services," he said.
Minister Ciobo highlighted the role Australian industry was playing in helping to deliver the Australian ALIS system.
"Lockheed Martin ALIS administrators and maintenance technicians have been directly supporting the RAAF’s operations at Luke AFB," he said.
"More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than $1 billion in global JSF production contracts to date."
Australia is spending about $17 billion to buy 72 fighters of the F-35A variant, with the aircraft due to reach IOC by December 2020. Australia’s first F-35As are currently operating at the international Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft are scheduled to arrive for permanent basing at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle in December this year.