An F-35 II Joint Strike Fighter prototype undergoes testing in America.
An F-35 II Joint Strike Fighter prototype undergoes testing in America. US Department of Defence

Govt to spend $12 billion to buy 58 F-35 fighter jets

THE Federal Government will spend more than $12 billion to buy 58 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters to take Australia's fleet to more than 72 aircraft.

Under the deal, which was finalised yesterday, the first of the JSFs will enter service in 2020.

The government says it will also consider the option of buying another squadron of the next-generation fighter jets to eventually replace the RAAF'S F/A-18 Super Hornets, the ABC reported.

"The fifth-generation F-35 is the most advanced fighter in production anywhere in the world and will make a vital contribution to our national security," Mr Abbott told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Together with the Super Hornet and Growler electronic warfare aircraft, the F-35 aircraft will ensure Australia maintains a regional air combat edge.

"The F-35 will provide a major boost to the Australian Defence Force's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities."


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