Australia’s first two F-35A Lightning IIs will make their debut appearance in Australia at the 2017 Australian International Airshow (AIA17).
As part of the wider air show, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will showcase the breadth and depth of ADF air power capabilities. Key among these will be the integrated and networked elements being developed though Plan Jericho to create the world’s leading fifth-generation air force.
Held from February 27 to March 5 at Avalon Airport, near Geelong in Victoria, the AIA17 will take the form of a weeklong industry exhibition followed by a public air show, including eight world class aerobatic acts, on the weekend of March 3-5.
The F-35A aircraft, AU-001 and AU-002, are expected to arrive at the air show on March 3, returning to the US via RAAF Base Amberley, so the Australian pilots can continue their training. The F-35A will be exhibited at the show alongside Australia’s first EA-18G Growler and almost 50 RAAF aircraft. These will include the new C-27J Spartan, the C-130J Hercules and the C-17A Globemaster, all of which will take part in the ADF Showcase flying displays and be available for inspection. Seven other nations will also display aircraft at the air show.
Among the aircraft anticipated in the US contingent will be some of the most potent combat jets in the world. These will include F-22A Raptors, one of which will be performing a high-energy handling display.
Other US aircraft as part of the Avalon air and ground displays may include F-16C Vipers, a C-17 Globemaster, a KC-135R Stratotanker, a P-8A Poseidon and a B-1B Lancer high-altitude bomber. Ground and static aircraft displays of general aviation, historic and aviation sporting groups will give people an insight into the latest technology from avionics, communications, and navigation and components suppliers.
On the ground, military re-enactment groups will turn back the pages of history. Tributes to Australia’s military heritage will be enhanced with authentic period uniforms, vehicles, artillery and weaponry. There will also be major displays of the ADF’s ground-base equipment and capabilities. Army will display modern weapons such as the M777 155mm Howitzer, along with combat vehicles including the M1 Abrams tank and the M113 armoured personnel carrier.
Army is also expected to display its air power with MRH-90 and ARH Tiger aircraft, and will take to the sky with a demonstration by the Australian Army Parachute Display Team, the Red Berets.
Navy is anticipated to join the air show with two AS 350BA Squirrels and a MRH-90 Taipan. A MH-60R Seahawk will be shown alongside the S-70B Seahawk to demonstrate the differences between the two anti-submarine helicopters.
In addition to the displays, CAF AIRMSHL Leo Davies will host a symposium on February 27 to engage with senior international military leaders about future air power challenges and publicly release the Air Force Strategy for 2017-2027. The strategy will articulate the long-term vision for Air Force beyond the life of Plan Jericho.
First held in 1992, the biennial air show at Avalon draws crowds and aircraft from around the world and is the premier event in the southern hemisphere for showcasing aerospace industry and military aviation.