Third RAAF F-35A pictured on first flight

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A35-003 on its first flight. (Carl Richards)

The Royal Australian Air Force’s third F-35A Lightning II, A35-003, has completed its first flight.

Photographer Carl Richards captured these images of A35-003 taking off on its first flight, from Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, on December 1.

The aircraft is due to be delivered to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona in early 2018 to be used for pilot and maintainer training, before being permanently relocated to Australia in 2020.

A35-003, known to its manufacturer Lockheed Martin as AU-3, had its RAAF markings, including its 3 Squadron tail flashes, applied in early November, the final phase of the aircraft’s production process.

3 Squadron is due to become the first RAAF F-35 operational unit.

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