F-35 makes ‘first’ Canberra visit

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 5, 2014
The F-35 on the hardstand at the Fairbairn Defence Establishment, Canberra Airport.
The F-35 mockup on the hardstand at the Fairbairn Defence Establishment, Canberra Airport.

A full-scale mockup of the F-35 Lightning II is set to be one of the highlights of the Canberra Airport Open Day on Sunday, marking the first ‘visit’ by the aircraft expected to replace the RAAF’s F/A-18A/B classic Hornet fleet to the nation’s capital.

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 mockup is no stranger to Australia, having been on display at recent Australian International Airshows at Avalon, while on this most current visit it has already been a highlight of the Centenary of Military Aviation Airshow held at Point Cook in early March, before being used as a backdrop at a ceremony on Monday to mark the delivery of the first Australian-built F-35 vertical tail ship-set, assembled by Marand in Melbourne.

The visit comes as the federal government contemplates ordering up to a further 58 F-35s, on top of the 14 already approved, to replace the RAAF’s classic Hornets. A decision is expected in coming weeks.

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Lockheed Martin Australia says it is the first local defence prime contractor to participate in the Canberra Airport Open Day, which is expected to attract 15,000 visitors. Further details of the open day can be found here.

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11 Comments

  • Frequent Flyer

    says:

    And what a debacle the Canberra Airport Open Day was for people trying to get to the airport to catch their flights….I was one of them.

  • michael9

    says:

    well !! we get to see “tubby” , the ongoing agony of this overweight, underperforming train wreck will never cease, it hasn’t met 1 ! just one of it’s original performance criteria , another disastrous military programme foisted on the tax payer

  • Raymond

    says:

    michael9 – that is very biased and not considering the big picture. You will be proved wrong.

  • James Garth

    says:

    Great to see this moving forward! I’m proud that Australia was heavily involved in the design effort and that Marand, BAE, Quickstep and others are contributing to the production phase.

  • Mark

    says:

    Wait! Australia is buying the F 35, but the best Lockheed Martin can do is put up a stationary display?! I think this should really say it all. It is obvious that LM doesn’t want the plane to fly before the taxpayers are stuck with the cost of acquiring it. By then, it will be too late to do anything about it. According to Rand and many others, this is the plane that cannot out-run, out-turn, and out-climb any other opponent, and that is irrelevant without the F 22 (according to the US Air Force General i/c Air Combat Command). The F 35 has also been described as a game changer. On that point, I agree. This is the first plane that will be sent into battle with no guarantee of winning and with every bit of certainty that the pilots flying it will be killed.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Just some perspective on this – Lockheed doesn’t own any F-35s. The US, UK and Dutch taxpayers own the only F-35s flying at the moment, so Lockheed can’t just take one to Australia for a fairly small airshow, especially when one hasn’t even been outside the US yet. First overseas trip for an F-35 will likely be the Farnborough Airshow in June.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • The Road Runner

    says:

    Mark why dose a plane have to out run and out turn an adversary ? With helmet mounted display pilots can do off shoulder bore sight shots. You think any plane can out run a missile that pulls 40s and goes Mach 4 plus? This is not the turn and burn top gun aircraft of the 1970’s. This is a plane that will see first and shoot first. EO-DAS is a system that offers 360 degree coverage of the air plane. No other plane offers this.Sure the plane has some issues. But they will be resolved.You have to remember this is cutting edge,and as such the rules are being written as the aircraft develops.

    RAND has been proven a joke as has Air Power Australia. You think the US and its allies have no idea about the capability this plane has? Even Japan, South Korea,Singapore and Israel will purchase this plan.It amazes me how key board warriors know more about JSF than Air forces who will fly them.

    • australianaviation.com.au

      says:

      Just a point re RAND – the study to which I think you’re referring was taken way out of context in order to get the “clubbed like a baby seal” result used by so many of the F-35’s detractors; RAND has said so too.
      Cheers
      Andrew

  • Raymond

    says:

    Andrew – so what was the actual context of that quote that anti-JSF critics love to repeat?

  • paul davis

    says:

    Gee it must have been loud.Hope everyone was wearing ear protection.

  • Dane

    says:

    That the F-35 is underpowered, overweight and not as agile as its Russian counterparts

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