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First production F-35 delivered to USAF

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 10, 2011

The first production F-35 to be handed over, F-35A AF-7.

The US Air Force has accepted the first production F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with the signing of formal acceptance documents for the jet on May 5.

The F-35, known as ‘AF-7’, flew to Edwards Air Force Base, California the following day, and will begin its extensive flight testing program.

“This first aircraft is the beginning of the modernisation of US Air Force, Marine and Naval airpower and for our coalition partners around the world,”  Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager, Larry Lawson, said.

“Today we begin to fulfil the vision of our government and international customers.”

Lockheed Martin says that the F-35 development fleet has now completed over 865 flights since testing began in late 2006, with eight more production aircraft currently being prepared for delivery.

The F-35A is now expected to achieve IOC (initial operating capability) with the USAF in 2017 or 2018.

Comments (2)

  • Peter


    Andrew McLaughlin – In my opinion, I really don’t see the JSF meeting all the requirements of parter nations. Is because it doesn’t carrying more weapons than the Sukhoi Su-27 & Su-30 Flanker family, upcoming T-50 PAK-FA and Chengdu J-20 Black Eagle. Even though the JSF has all of these fancy systems. The stealth doesn’t work and certainly its not as stealthy as the F-22, T-50 PAK-FA and J-20 Black Eagle (which the J-20 has yet to demonstrate its stealth capability and AESA radar during testing stage), its a total delusion. Again by just relying EW systems, with short to medium range (a range of 145 nm detection radius) APG-81 AESA, BVR and cruise missiles as stand off and straight level. How’s the JSF going to survive without agility, acceleration, long range endurance and missile payload to be able to defeat the missiles and enemy fighters? The very clear answer is you’re a dead duck.

    The JSF is 50 times worse. Is because the JSF is too overweight which cannot perform successful in air superiority role. Certainly the JSF is a wrong replacement for the F-111, which cannot perform long range strike and low level TFR. The fuselage has too much cross section and wings that are tiny which doesn’t provide lift and drag, the airframe is too thinned skinned which the 22mm bullet from the rifle can very easily penetrate the JSF’s engine that causes the engine to catch on fire, with fuel circulating around the Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engine.

    Again single engine is absolutely the most terrible thing a.k.a not survivable and risks for land and overwater operations. You’ll be a dead duck with any single engine aircraft. Makes all fighter pilots really horrified when it fails and flying like a glider and dropping like a stone.

    When this aircraft enters service with the RAAF until 2018 or later, In my own eyes the JSF is the most vulnerable and very dangerous aircraft. Is because of its very pittiful limited agility, limited supersonic speed, no endurance and very pittiful limited missile payload which is unsuited for bomber operations which is totally waste of money. I certainly don’t have a confidence of transitioning to the JSF, if I was the best fighter pilot. Or any best fighter pilot that is well trained. No matter what she or he is deploying to war anywhere there’re going fight with an inferior airplane that cannot compete with the Russian / Chinese fighters and SAM systems proliferating in the region, with a lot difficulties in performance, weight and cooling capacity PLUS significant software and system integration problems. Again the JSF is a doga and is double inferior to the Sukhoi that is deployed to Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and India. The JSF or any small airframes will be outclassed by these red countries in the region equipped with larger airframes. The JSF is not very trusting and the most unreliable warplane. Wasting billions of taxpayers money that has no practical use against any modern new generation fighter coming to arc interest to our north. Its the most damning and extremely nasty mistake for the JSF to be the backbone of the RAAF’s fighter/strike force. The JSF is the most headache and very complicated project and the order must be cancelled.

    This goes to show you that the Large airframes that have the better capability and more potent firepower etc and they have far more potential than the small airframes. Thats the reason the JSF or any small airframe is the wrong choice for Australia’s needs. I reckon its time for the RAAF and the Government reallly need to wake up more this time.


  • Peter


    The JSF will be truly unmentally useless, it will ruin any air force, navy and marine corp that will replace all F-16s, A-10, F/A-18A-through D model Hornets and degrading the air force further. The pilots will fly worse, they’ll get less training, which is the most important part to train any combat pilots, they’ll be far less pilots is because the whole forces have to shrink and the RAAF will show that they can’t do anything and it’ll be ineffective for the next 30 to 40 years.

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