Kangaroo Lightnings will vacate Luke

After a commitment of six years, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II training detachment will vacate Luke AFB (AZ) before the end of 2020.

On 9 October 2020, a joint USAF-RAAF formation of four Lightnings conducted a last farewell photoshoot and flew over the Grand Canyon, Phoenix and other Arizona landmarks.

The first RAAF F-35As were delivered for pilot training to the 61st Fighter Squadron Top Dogs, part of the USAF's 56th Fighter Wing Integrated Training Centre at Luke during late 2014/early 2015.

RAAF personnel at Luke are scheduled to return to RAAF Base Williamtown (Australia), by December 2020.

Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown. All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2024. In the future, a fourth operational squadron will be considered for RAAF Base Amberley, bringing the total to ninety 5th generation down-under stealth fighters.


Photos: USAF

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