F-35A Lightning II with First Australian-Made Vertical Tails Receives Final Finish
An F-35A Lightning II aircraft known as AF-73, rolled out of Lockheed
Aircraft Final Finishes facility on April 29. The jet also has the distinction of
possessing the first set of vertical tails manufactured by the Australian company
The completion of the final finishes phase for AF-73 is an important production milestone for Marand, BAE Systems and Australia, demonstrating the significant industrial benefits the F-35 program brings to the growing Australian aerospace industry. The work on the F-35 vertical tails is contracted to Marand by BAE Systems. This is one of the largest manufacturing projects for the Australian F-35 program, with 722 ship sets planned.
AF-73 will undergo a series of tests and engine runs prior to its first flight scheduled in the coming weeks. The aircraft will join the F-35 fleet later this year at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The F-35 Lightning II aircraft will provide the Royal Australian Air Force
with a transformational 5th generation fighter capability and
provides significant benefits to the Australian aerospace industry, with more
than $413 million (USD) already contracted.