On 8 February 2021, BAE Systems Australia's facility at Williamtown officially welcomed the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-35A Lightning II, A35-013 from 2 Operational Conversion Unit, for depot level airframe maintenance and sustainment.
In an official geathering the aircraft was welcomed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld and BAE Systems Australia Chief Executive Officer Gabby Costigan.
The BAE Systems' Williamtown facility is the formal Southern Pacific Regional F-35 Heavy Airframe Depot and is contracted to support the RAAF F-35As for the coming three decades.
The first RAAF F-35A arrived in Australia in 2018 and on 28 December 2020, the Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds and Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price, declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the RAAF F-35A Lightning IIs. Read our news item here.