Australia drops F-35B for new assault ships

The Australian government has dropped plans to buy between 18 and 24 F-35Bs, to be placed on board the Canberra and Adelaide. A combination of
modification cost to the ships, the unlikely requirement to operate them off one of them, and the reduction of the RAAF F-35A buy was cited. Both
ships are undergoing trials, and will operate helicopters off their decks.

Australia has dropped consideration of buying the short takeoff and vertical landing (Stovl) version of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning for
its two largest assault ships, a defense source says.

The decision was made during preparation of a defense white paper that may be published next month.

Deploying Stovl fighters, proposed last year by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, would have required costly modifications to the two ships, says the
Australian Financial Review newspaper, which first reported that the idea had been abandoned.

There was widespread opposition across the armed services to buying the F-35B, the defense source tells Aviation Week.…

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