F-35A Lightning II training at RAAF Base Amberley

Keep your eyes on the skies as up to eight F-35A Lightning II will be training at RAAF Base Amberley on Thursday, 25 February between 9am and 3pm.

The pilots from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit, which is a fighter training unit base in RAAF Base Williamtown, will conduct diversion training.

They will operate in pairs conducting instrument approach and circuit training into RAAF Base Amberley, before departing to return to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Diversion training is an essential part of training on fast jet aircraft to enable pilots to land at different airfields.

Flying is subject to change due to variables such as air traffic control requirements, weather, and other aviation considerations.

The F-35A Lightning II is the Australian Defence Force’s first fifth-generation air combat capability.

It is a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter which will meet Australia’s requirements to defeat current and emerging threats.

Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.

The first F-35A aircraft was accepted into Australian service in 2018, with the first arriving in country in December that year.  

The first F-35A squadron, No. 3 Squadron, will be operational in 2021.

All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.

Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft. Image: Defence

The F-35A is characterised by:

  • a low observable design
  • internal weapons and fuel carriage
  • advanced radar
  • electro-optical and infrared sensors
  • advanced voice and data link communications, and
  • the ability to employ a wide range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons.

It is the most suitable aircraft to replace the ageing F/A-18A/B Hornets.

Capable of supersonic flight while retaining stealth, the F-35A has extraordinary acceleration, agility and 9G manoeuvrability.

On 17 July 2015, the Department of the Environment and Energy published the approval decision for the flying operations of the F-35A, after considering the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

Noise reduction and the environment are vital considerations in the planning and conduct of military flying. Information on aircraft noise and current flying activities is available at www.defence.gov.au/aircraftnoise or by calling 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362).

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