Australia taking delivery of first F-35, plans to buy 72

Stars and Stripes // July 23, 2014

Australia will take delivery of its first F-35 Lightning II on Thursday from Lockheed Martin in Texas, according to an Australian Defence Force spokesman.

Australia — which plans to buy 72 F-35s — is among several close allies, including the United Kingdom and Japan, which plan to purchase the advanced combat jet despite a string of safety issues, including a recent engine fire that forced the plane to skip this month’s Farnborough Airshow in southern England.

The United States is supposed to build almost 2,500 of the jets. Nine partner countries, including Australia, are involved in its production.

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Photo by Lockheed Martin.