Here’s the first (and second) Australian F-35 Lightning II aircraft

A sneak preview of the first and second F-35 being delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force

The first of 72 F-35s for the Royal Australian Air Force rolled out at Lockheed Martin’s Ft. Worth facility on Jul. 24.

The RAAF is expected to base the Joint Strike Fighter at two bases: Williamtown, in New South Wales, and Tindal, in the Northern Territory, where 1.5 billion USD facilities and infrastructures to support the new fifth generation radar-evading plane will be built.

Ahead of the ceremony, Lockheed Martin unveiled to media the second F-35 (top image), AU-2, which already wears the standard overall grey color scheme along with the RAAF roundels and tail marking of the No 2 Operational Conversion Unit from RAAF Williamtown.

First F-35 RAAF

Above: the first F-35 AU-1

Image credit: Lockheed Martin


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Upgraded Flankers or the PAK FA has 0 chance against the F-35.

    With it’s helmet mounted targeting, the F-35 pilot only needs to turn his head and look at the Sukhoi to destroy it. He can see through his cockpit, 360 degrees up and down. In 2015, the F-22 will be upgraded with the same helmet targeting and DAS system.

    Seriously, this is a must see clip:

    The F-35 radar is the best in the world. It can even zapp a microwave pulse-beam to fry the enemy’s missiles or avionics. It can track 23 enemy aircraft in 9 seconds. Attack targets with it’s own missiles or use another F-35’s missiles using target sharing datalink:

    It can detect enemy missiles and aircraft at insanely vast distances (range is top secret):

    The AIM-9X thrust vectoring missile can turn 180 degrees and take out bandits in the back.
    The AIM-9X block III is the world’s best high off-boresight IR missile.

    As predicted in millions of computer simulations, Russian Sukhois would start blowing up before they can even detect the F-35.

  2. Do not believe the critics.

    Most of the F-35 specs and technology are top secret. No one knows all the capability of the F-35 except those heads of participating nations. Those who has seen what the F-35 can do, like what they see.

    Twelve of the top air forces of the world is committed to purchasing the F-35. Over 3000 units are in order: U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, S Korea, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Norway and Turkey are all going to get the F-35.

    South Korea, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and UAE are also interested.

    Lockheed is investing 170 million in new manufacturing methods to reduce the cost of the F-35 to less than the Typhoon Eurofighter.

    Pratt and Whitney is also lowering the cost of it’s F-35 engine.

    • If its so great tell me why the minimum performance criteria has been lowered for the plane? As for costs – there are many accounting tricks at play here:

      1. Price the aircraft in *2005* dollars then inflate to todays rate.
      2. Price the aircraft as airframe only $100m then you will need those retrofit fixes because of concurrency and also you might want an engine – also extra.
      3. Make the F35c way more expensive so as to subsidise the F35A production line!
      4. Reduce its performance requirement. It was overweight by a lot so they trimmed off some of that protection around the engine – 50 cal bullet will easily penetrate the engine. Of course say its all classified so no need to admit to such failings.

      Put it another way. The Russians created the Yak 141 in the mid 1980s and then that became the Yak 43. Realising it was a money pit they gave up on the design and then sold their research data to the Americans. The roots of this plane are already nearly 40 years old. LM have made some great planes before, the legendary C130, C141, SR71, A12, Connie, Tristar to name by a few but this one you cant help but feel it was led by middle management consulting the engineers last if at all.

      • From

        A great deal of misinformation has appeared on the Internet regarding the relationship of the Soviet Yak-41 (later Yak-141), NATO reporting name Freestyle, to the X-35 and the rest of the JSF program. The Pratt & Whitney 3BSD nozzle design predates the Russian work. In fact the 3BSD was tested with a real engine almost twenty years before the first flight of the Yak.

        Yakovlev was looking for money to keep its VTOL program alive, not having received any orders for a production version of the Yak-141. Lockheed provided a small amount of funding in return for obtaining performance data and limited design data on the Yak-141. US government personnel were allowed to examine the aircraft. *However, the 3BSN design was already in place on the X-35 before these visits*.

Comments are closed.