Australia’s F-35A capability moves forward

Australia’s F-35A Lightning II capability has taken a step forward with the opening of the Australian and United Kingdom (UK) F-35 Reprogramming Laboratory.

Located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Reprogramming Laboratory is a joint partnership between Australia and the UK.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said this new capability will enable the F-35 to be a “smart” aircraft.

“The Reprogramming Laboratory produces Mission Data Files (MDFs for Australian and UK F-35s) which compiles information about the operating environment and assets in an area, before being loaded onto the aircraft pre-flight using a portable hard drive,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Combined with the aircraft’s advance sensor suite, this provides the pilot with a clearer battlespace picture.

“The F-35A is a key part of the Morrison Government’s $200 billion investment in Defence capability.

“Today’s opening is a key milestone in the delivery of this program to the Australian Defence Force.”

The Reprogramming Laboratory will support Australian and UK F-35s by developing, verifying, validating and issuing F-35 MDFs for Australian and UK-fielded F-35s.

Both countries are co-funding and supporting the capability under a 50/50 funding arrangement.

The F-35A is expected to achieve Initial Operating Capability in December 2020, and Final Operating Capability in late 2023.

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Kym Bergmann
Kym Bergmann is the editor for Asia Pacific Defence Reporter (APDR) and Defence Review Asia (DRA). He has more than 25 years of experience in journalism and the defence industry. After graduating with honours from the Australian National University, he joined Capital 7 television, holding several positions including foreign news editor and chief political correspondent. During that time he also wrote for Business Review Weekly, undertaking analysis of various defence matters.After two years on the staff of a federal minister, he moved to the defence industry and held senior positions in several companies, including Blohm+Voss, Thales, Celsius and Saab. In 1997 he was one of two Australians selected for the Thomson CSF 'Preparation for Senior Management' MBA course. He has also worked as a consultant for a number of companies including Raytheon, Tenix and others. He has served on the boards of Thomson Sintra Pacific and Saab Pacific.


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