The first two Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters to be permanently based in Australia have finally arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown, touching down earlier today.
The aircraft are the ninth and tenth jets to be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The first eight are currently flying with the U.S. Air Force’s 61st Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base Arizona, as part of the international F-35 training school. The RAAF has 72 F-35As on order and it has a further 28 aircraft options. The two aircraft had been delivered to the RAAF at Luke in September and October respectively, and were delivered to Williamtown via Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and RAAF Base Amberley, south-east of Brisbane.
The pair were flown by the commanding officer of No. 3 Squadron, Wing Commander Darren Clare and Squadron Leader Red Borrman, and they conducted a flypast of the surrounding Newcastle and Shoal Bay area, accompanied by four F-18 Hornets. No. 3 Squadron is the first Australian F-35 squadron.
VIDEO: A look at the RAAF F-35's conducting a flypast along the New South Wales Hunter Coast in December 2018. Credit: RAAF