A third RAAF pilot is now qualified on the F-35A after Flight Lieutenant Edwin Borrman recently completed his qualifying flight at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.
Defence said on Tuesday FLTLT Borrman was now qualified to instruct other pilots in flying the aircraft, joining SQNLDRs Andrew Jackson and David Bell as Australia’s first qualified F-35 pilots.
“The last jet I flew in Australia was the Hawk 127 as an instructor and I must say it feels good to be back at the front edge of aircraft performance,” Borrman said in a statement.
“A little more power and capability definitely puts a grin on my face.”
“The training went surprisingly quickly, although I did rely upon my previous experience in the F/A-18A and instructional experience in the Hawk 127 to help me through.
“Tactically the jet is amazing, there is so much situational awareness on display. The hardest part is determining what my priority is at any given time and where do I look to get that information.
“This course has given me great insight as to how our future F-35 pilots will transition directly from the Hawk to the F-35A.”
Australia’s first two F-35As are based at Luke AFB as part of an pilot training aircraft pool there. Subsequently, the first RAAF F-35As are due to arrive in Australia at the end of 2018, with the first operational squadron (3 Squadron) expected to be operational by 2021.
The federal government has ordered 72 F-35As to replace the F/A-18A/B Hornet.