Aussies Drop Naval F-35 Concept

The Royal Australian Navy shelved the idea of purchasing F-35B Lightning IIs for operations aboard its new amphibious assault ships, reported Australia’s Financial Review. The Royal Australian Air Force upped its planned buy of F-35As to 72 aircraft last year, and the government reportedly pushed adding short takeoff and vertical landing variants for the Navy as well. A technical review found that modifying the two Canberra class landing-helicopter deck ships would be physically difficult and cost-prohibitive, according to the press report. The plan called for roughly a dozen F-35Bs to operate from each ship, similar to the US Marine Corps and British Royal Navy, which just completed evaluations aboard the USS Wasp last month. The decision not to purchase F-35Bs does not impact the RAAF’s plan to recapitalize its legacy fleet with F-35As, the first of w?hich rolled off the production line last July.