A conventional takeoff and landing variant of the F-35 multirole aircraft built by Lockheed Martin has achieved initial operational capability status from the government of Australia.
The IOC status builds from the Royal Australian Air Force's deployment of 600 maintenance personnel and more than 45 pilots to support the F-35A aircraft, which logged more than 8.8K mission hours for the service branch, the company said Monday.
The government of Australia tapped Lockheed to carry out sustainment activities for RAAF's fleet of F-35A jets.
"As the original equipment manufacturer and lead industry sustainment partner for Australia's F-35A fleet, Lockheed Martin congratulates the RAAF on achieving this milestone, and we stand ready to support the fleet with our industry partners," said Joe North, chief executive at Lockheed's Australian business arm.
Lockheed noted more than 50 Australian companies received $2B in contracts to develop, produce and sustain F-35As.
F-35 systems employ low observable technologies and various sensors to provide battlespace awareness and perform missions within contested environments.