The first F-35 for Australia, AU-1, has entered Lockheed Martin’s final assembly line, with the aircraft now undergoing the mate process where its fuselage and wings are joined.
After mate AU-1 will make its way down the Fort Worth assembly line and roll out of the factory for handover to the RAAF in 2014.
Australia has so far contracted to buy two of an initial batch of 14 F-35s. A decision on further F-35s is expected next year, while in the meantime AU-1 and sistership AU-2 will be based in the US for pilot training.
Meanwhile, the F-35 fleet has surpassed 10,000 flight hours.