Friday, December 20, 2013

Australia's first F-35A, C-27J achieve milestones

Alenia Aermacchi Photo

Big week for the future platforms of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as two key programs achieve milestones.

The first Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the RAAF, coded AU-1, which is currently winding its way through the cavernous JSF production facility at Fort Worth, Texas, is now standing on its on wheels for the first time. The aircraft was lifted by an overhead crane from an EMAS – Electronic Mate and Alignment System – station where its forward and rear fuselage sections were joined to the wing-centre fuselage assembly, to final assembly, where its control surfaces are added and final systems and engine are installed.

Meanwhile Alenia Aermacchi has announced that the first of ten C-27J Spartan battlefield airlifters for the Royal Australian Air force has made its maiden flight. It will be delivered to prime contractor L-3 Communications in 2014 for final fitout before the first two aircraft are brought to Australia in 2015. Here is the RAAF's (informative) media release about the event.


  1. I hope we got a discount on the C27's after they refused maintenance on ex-US models.

  2. The ex-US models you're talking about are the C-27As sold to the Afghan Air Force. Australia is buying the C-27J. Slight difference.

  3. The US offered to sell Aus some of the C-27J's they're mothballing (or giving to SOCOM), but Alenia suggested they wouldn't provide maintenance for them, which is a bit cheeky. Apparently we're buying these through the US contract they initially established for the larger order (~78) that the USAF never completed, so we're getting them at a fairly decent FMS price (part of the reason the C-295 wasn't considered).