The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) continues to expand its F-35A Lightning II fleet with four new aircraft touching down in Australia in late February.
Air Force now operates 48 of the planned 72-strong fleet, with the latest arrivals having returned from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, following the conclusion of Exercise Cope North 22.
No. 77 Squadron was responsible for accepting the latest F-35As and the Commanding Officer of the squadron, Wing Commander Tim Ireland, said it was a great opportunity to accept the aircraft as part of Cope North.
“The F-35A Lightning II capability is fundamental to ensuring the RAAF remains ready and able to conduct integrated high-end warfighting,” Wing Commander Ireland said.
“It was useful that No. 77 Squadron accepted these aircraft during Exercise Cope North. The activity is critical in enhancing our trilateral military interoperability with the US and Japan.
“The F-35As are exceptional at multiplying the effectiveness of surrounding platforms and capabilities.
“With the arrival of these four jets, No. 77 Squadron continues to grow as a combat-ready force.
“In 2022, we mark 80 years since the squadron was raised for the defence of Darwin. We’re all very proud to be part of its history as we enter a new era.”