Australia just became the first US partner to get F-35As with 'full war-fighting potential'

Picture: Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence

Australia just took delivery of three fifth-generation F35A warplanes from Lockheed Martin.

And not just regular F35As. They’re the first jets given to a program partner outside the US that have Block 3F capability unlocked.

Here’s what that means, according to Australia’s Minister for Defence Marise Payne:

“Unlocks its full war-fighting potential” is something even the US Navy doesn’t have. Its F-35Cs won’t complete Block 3F testing until at least late 2018.

Israel is understood to have JSFs with Block 3F capability unlocked, however, according to Janes, it is a customer rather than a partner.

Australia now has five of the F35As stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with five more scheduled to arrive by the end of the year.

Picture: ADF/Marise Payne/Twitter

It will eventually take delivery of 72 F-35A Lightning II aircraft to replace its fleet of 71 F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets.

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