Thanks to our friends at AAP, we’ve been given detailed information regarding our country’s newest addition — F-35A Joint Strike Fighters.
Yesterday, the first two landed in Newcastle.
RAAF Chief Air Marshal Leo Davies is calling these beauties something greater than just a military upgrade. Rather, it is a military game changer.
The next generation fighter jet
As AAP reports, the Australia Air Force is putting the F-35A in top position for air combat technology.
It can take supersonic flight while retaining stealth, reaching speeds of up to 1975km/h. And it can fly at an altitude of 15.2km from ground level.
The Fighters also have electro-optical and infrared sensors built in. These allow the jets to communicate to other Defence Force Units quickly. Then, once the ADF map out an improved battlefield map, this technology keeps all units in contact with one another so they can easily play out the scheme.
Wing Commander Darren Clare, head of an F-35 squadron, gave a perfect tagline to reporters on Monday:
‘It’s a computer pretending to be an aeroplane.’
Of course, these game-changing jets don’t come cheap. The first Newcastle-residing pair came in at $124 million each — a fair chunk out of the Aussie pocket.
Thankfully, the jet manufacturer Lockheed Martin says each batch will be cheaper from now on.
They plan for 72 jets in total, coming at an expected cost of $8.33 billion from the $17 billion project.
Next year we are expecting eight more jets to arrive on our soil. A further 20 or so are to be added in 2020. The whole order of 72 is planned to be filled by 2023.
The US currently leads the Joint Strike fighter program, building and buying most of the jets. But many other nations are showing support with the program. Apart from Australia, the UK, Italy, Canada and the Netherlands are just some of the supporters. There are also some F-35s being sold to Israel, Japan and South Korea.
$1 billion in production contracts has been provided by over 50 Aussie companies who are involved in the Joint Strike Fighter program.
And it seems we were in need for a boost in our Defence Air Force.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne says the US-China conflict has no doubt made Australia rethink their reliance on other nations for support. An upgrade on our military capabilities would never be detrimental to the nation.
Air Force Chief Leo Davies continues his praise of the F-35As, saying the data from RAAF simulations ‘show us clearly we have bought the right aircraft’.
It’s hard to find anything that suggests otherwise.
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