The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrived at USAF’s Luke Air Force Base. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to arrive for training at Luke.
«The Royal Australian Air Force is delighted to be the first foreign partner nation with F-35A aircraft arriving at Luke Air Force Base», Air Commodore Gary Martin, air attaché said. «This is an important milestone for Australia and we are looking forward to the commencement of our fifth-generation pilot training here at Luke in 2015».
Luke will be the central training hub for international F-35A Lightning II training. In the near future, international and U.S. students will be teamed together learning how to effectively employ the fifth-generation strike fighter.
Welcoming the aircraft, Brigadier General Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing Commander said, «Today, we take another tremendous step forward in our transition to the F-35A here at Luke. Australia is the first of 10 nations that will not only become part of the Luke community, but will share in calling the West Valley a home away from home».
«Welcoming our first Australian F-35A is a special day for Luke and the community that has been so supportive of us», Brigadier Pleus said. «Luke’s mission has been to train the world’s greatest fighter pilots. We will continue on that legacy as we train the world’s best F-35 pilots».
«The collaborative training we’ll be doing here on aircraft designed with stealth, maneuverability and integrated avionics will better prepare our combined forces to assume multi-role missions for the future of strike aviation», Pleus said. «From the bed-down of the F-35 and its infrastructure to the execution of training, our partner-nations have been an important piece of Luke’s F-35A team. The relationships we’re building now will be invaluable when we deploy together around the world protecting our respective countries».
Australia’s training will be conducted in conjunction with the 61st Fighter Squadron. Other partner-nations that will be joining the U.S. and Australia in the F-35A training program here will be Turkey, Italy, Norway, and the Netherlands, in addition to Foreign Military Sales countries Japan, Korea and Israel.
According to Defense-aerospace.com, the teamwork on the F-35A is not the first time Luke Air Force Base has worked with international partners on an airframe. Luke’s Airmen currently train on base alongside pilots and maintainers from Singapore and Taiwan on the F-16.
Virtually undetectable to an enemy that cannot hide, the Conventional TakeOff and Landing (CTOL) F-35A gives the Royal Australian Air Force the power to dominate the skies – anytime, anywhere. It’s an agile, versatile, high-performance 9g multirole fighter that provides unmatched capability and unprecedented situational awareness.
The F-35A’s advanced sensor package gathers and distributes more information than any fighter in history, giving operators a decisive advantage over all adversaries. Its tremendous processing power, open architecture, sophisticated sensors, information fusion and flexible communication links make the F-35A Lightning II an indispensable tool in future homeland defense, joint and coalition irregular warfare, and major combat operations.
The F-35A brings unparalleled performance to any theater in any conflict against any threat.
Length: 51.4 ft/15.7 m
Height: 14.4 ft/4.38 m
Wingspan: 35 ft/10.7 m
Wing area: 460 ft2/42.7 m2
Horizontal tail span: 22.5 ft/6.86 m
Weight empty: 29,300 lb/13,290 kg
Internal fuel capacity: 18,250 lb/8,278 kg
Weapons payload: 18,000 lb/8,160 kg
Maximum weight: 70,000 lb class/31,751 kg
Standard internal weapons load: 25 mm GAU-22/A cannon
Two AIM-120C air-to-air missiles
Two 2,000-pound (907 kg) GBU-31 JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) guided bombs
Propulsion (uninstalled thrust ratings): F135-PW-100
Maximum Power (with afterburner): 43,000 lbs/191,3 kN/ 19,507 kgf
Military Power (without afterburner): 28,000 lbs/128,1 kN/ 13,063 kgf
Length: 220 in/5.59 m
Inlet Diameter: 46 in/1.17 m
Maximum Diameter: 51 in/1.30 m
Bypass Ratio: 0.57
Overall Pressure Ratio: 28
Speed (full internal weapons load): Mach 1.6 (~1,200 mph/ 1931 km/h)
Combat radius (internal fuel): >590 NM/1,093 km
Range (internal fuel): >1,200 NM/2,200 km
Max g-rating: 9.0
U.S. Air Force: 1,763;
South Korea: 40;
In total: 2,322