RAAF F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets Arrive at Williamtown

Farewell to a fine specimen of an F/A-18B, Classic Hornet.
Farewell to a fine specimen of an F/A-18B, Classic Hornet.

 

HUNDREDS of people lined the Nelson Bay Road / Medowie Road intersection on Monday to catch a glimpse of the Royal Australian Air Force’s latest acquisition.

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Welcomed in by the outgoing Classic Hornets, the new RAAF F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets arrived to start work.

Wowing the crowd with a series of flyovers, replete with aerobatic tricks, the Jets made a jaw-dropping entry to the neighbourhood.

Twenty five of the Classic Hornets, surplus to Australia’s needs, will find a new home with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The Super Hornets which operate out of RAAF Base Amberley will remain operational alongside the new fighter jets.

General Sir Peter Cosgrove along with other dignitaries and politicians were at the event to welcome the Jets.

Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne told those present at the official welcome, “The Joint Strike Fighter is a game-changer.”

“It is the most advanced, multi-role stealth fighter in the world and will deliver next generation capability benefits and provide a major boost to our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.”

A statement released by Lockheed Martin CEO, Ms Marillyn Hewson stated, “Today we celebrate with the Royal Australian Airforce and the people of Australia the home basing of their first two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.”

“This day is the culmination of decades of cooperation, friendship, and innovation between Australia and the United States.”

First commissioned in 2002, the Jets have not been without controversy, not least of all due to their cost, estimated at $124 million each.

Seventy two Jets, built in the USA, have been ordered by the Australian government.

Fifty six will be based at Williamtown RAAF Base and 16 at Tindal, Northern Territory.

Plane spotting enthusiast and photographer, Mr Marcus Bertino travelled from Hoppers Crossing near Melbourne to witness and record this historical event.

Speaking to News Of The Area, Mr Bertino said, “I have always had a strong passion for aviation, in particular Military aircraft.”

“I love the noise and am fascinated by the speed and power they have.”

Mr Bertino whose day job is at the Telstra store in Altona is keen to pursue a career in the RAAF said, “The display put on today was incredible!”

“It was well worth the trip up from Melbourne just to see this and will be something I will not forget.”

The general consensus of the people witnessing the arrival of the Jets was that the noise was not as intrusive as reports had suggested.

 

By Heather SHARP

 

The Classic Hornets welcome in the new generation of fighter jets, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets.
The Classic Hornets welcome in the new generation of fighter jets, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets.

 

There is no mistaking the new  F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets.
There is no mistaking the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets.

 

 

Getting up close and personal to the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jet.
Getting up close and personal to the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jet.

 

The flyovers of the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jet included the best vantage points of Newcastle and Port Stephens.
The flyovers of the new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jet included the best vantage points of Newcastle and Port Stephens.
Flying in formation, the two new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets together.
Flying in formation, the two new F-35A Joint Strike Fighter Jets together.

 

 

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