Australian International Airshow 2017 – Avalon’s ADF Showcase Part II

Australian Defence Force (ADF) Showcase

The 20 minute ADF Showcase component of the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2017 was a ripper! This flying display featured reconnaissance, suppression, attack and rescue defence operations with fighter jets, helicopters, maritime patrol and support aircraft to demonstrate the mixed capabilities and skills of a joint ADF task force. The number of aircraft types involved was fantastic and included long-established and new aircraft from RAAF, army and navy assets. Up first lets take a look at the combat elements of the ADF Showcase.

RAAF Hornets

RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters (a 2 Operational Conversion Unit F/A-18A and No. 3 Squadron two-seat F/A-18B) conducted both suppression and attack missions. The 71 Hornets currently operated by the RAAF (No. 3, 75, 77 Squadrons and 2OCU) will eventually be replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter so it was great to see them play a big role at Avalon 2017. A BAE Hawk 127 lead-in jet fighter trainer also took part in the display (33 are operated across No. 76 and 79 Squadrons).

RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A with a commemorative 75 year tail scheme and a No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B two-seat combat trainer taxi for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A with a commemorative 75 year tail scheme and a No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B two-seat combat trainer taxi for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A with a commemorative 75 year tail scheme and a No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B two-seat combat trainer taxi for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A with a commemorative 75 year tail scheme and a No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B two-seat combat trainer taxi for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters Jericho Trail ADF Showcase Avalon 2017
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters prepare to take off at Avalon 2017 to participate in the ADF Showcase flying display
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters Jericho Trail ADF Showcase Avalon 2017
When Hornets strike!
Hornet evasive maneuvers and flare release Avalon 2017
Hornet evasive maneuvers and flare release
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A Hornet Avalon 2017
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A Hornet
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A Hornet comes in to land at Avalon 2017
RAAF 2OCU F/A-18A Hornet comes in to land at Avalon 2017
RAAF No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B Hornet lands at Avalon 2017
RAAF No. 3 Squadron F/A-18B Hornet lands at Avalon 2017
RAAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter A35-001 flies to wow the crowd at Avalon 2017
The eventual RAAF Hornet replacement will be the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – here A35-001 flies to wow the crowd at Avalon 2017
RAAF BAE Hawk 127 lead-in fighter jet trainer prepares for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF BAE Hawk 127 lead-in fighter jet trainer prepares for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF Hornets Avalon 2017
Hornets return

Australian Army & Navy Helicopters

A pair of Royal Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan Multi-Role Helicopters inserted troops and were provided top cover from a pair ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (the army will operate 41 MRH90 and 22 ARH Tiger helicopters). Off in the distance was a new Royal Australian Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter (24 are on order) that soon flew in to demonstrate seaborne operations including sub hunting.

Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan Multi-role Helicopters with ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters providing protection Avalon 2017
Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan Multi-role Helicopters with ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters providing protection
Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan Multi-role Helicopters with ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters providing protection
Australian Army MHR-90 Taipan Avalon 2017
Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan helicopters can conduct troop transport, search and rescue, special operations and counter-terrorism missions
Australian Army Aviation AHR Tiger attack helicopter Avalon 2017
Australian Army Aviation ARH Tiger two-seat attack helicopter are fitted with a GIAT 30mm DEFA M781 chin mounted cannon and can carry AGM-114 Hellfire II Air-To-Ground Missiles or rocket pods
Australian Army ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters provide top cover for MHR90 Taipan's Avalon 2017
Army ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters provide top cover for MHR90 Taipan’s
Army ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters provide top cover for MHR90 Taipan's performing a troop insertion at Avalon 2017
Army ARH Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters provide top cover for MHR90 Taipan’s performing a troop insertion at Avalon 2017
Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan helicopters
Army support
Australian Army Aviation MRH90 Taipan helicopters
Dust off

Maritime Patrol

The brand new Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft flew alongside the aircraft it will replace, the venerable Lockheed AP-3C Orion (12-15 P-8A’s will enter service and the last of 18 AP-3C aircraft are scheduled to be withdrawn by 2021). The P-8A is also based off the Boeing 737 platform. Both types would work in conjunction with the MH-60R Seahawk and in the near future the P-8A will work with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton long-range maritime patrol UAV of which a mock-up was on static display (7 are on order and they are huge!).

RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on static display at Avalon 2017
RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on static display at Avalon 2017
RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft prepares for take off at Avalon 2017
RAAF P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft prepares for take off at Avalon 2017
New and Old - An RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon comes into view at Avalon 2017 with its predecessor, the Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft
New and Old – An RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon comes into view at Avalon 2017 with its predecessor, the Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft
Royal Australian Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk at Avalon 2017
Royal Australian Navy Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk at Avalon 2017
An RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon and Lockheed AP-3C Orion passes a navy MH-60R Seahawk at Avalon 2017
An RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon and Lockheed AP-3C Orion passes a navy MH-60R Seahawk at Avalon 2017
RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon and Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft at Avalon 2017
RAAF Boeing P-8A Poseidon and Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft at Avalon 2017
The weapons bay of the P-8A and AP-3C respectively at Avalon 2017
The weapons bay of the P-8A and AP-3C respectively
One of the newest aircraft in the RAAF inventory, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon comes in for landing at Avalon
One of the newest aircraft in the RAAF inventory, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon comes in for landing at Avalon
RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion pass Avalon 2017
RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion pass – the last Orion will be withdrawn from RAAF service in 2021
Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton long-range maritime patrol UAV mock-up Avalon 2017
The huge Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton long-range maritime patrol UAV mock-up

It was great to see so many aircraft involved and also see the new P-8A Poseidon included in the flying display alongside the AP-3C Orion. My next post will include the support aircraft that took part in the ADF Showcase.

RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion (top) and Boeing C-17 Globemaster III alongside a Lockheed C-130J Hercules transport Avalon 2017
RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion (top) and Boeing C-17 Globemaster III alongside a Lockheed C-130J Hercules transport

 

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5 thoughts on “Australian International Airshow 2017 – Avalon’s ADF Showcase Part II

  1. Seriously impressive photos! I’m very envious of the RAAF with its new aircraft, whereas our RNZAF lot on the other side of the ditch appear to be 60 year old Vietnam-era relics held together with duct tape (well, lovingly maintained by a dedicated and very expert bunch of engineers, which is why they still fly). Always have been a fan of the Hornet. I still remember around 1991, during my defence journalism jag, being aboard an RAAF B707 tanker and watching an F/A-18 float up alongside for a drink. They were brand new in service back then. Wonderful aircraft.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Matthew! In an upcoming post you will see the RNZAF C-130H that flew at Avalon – a great display despite the aircraft getting long in the tooth! That B707 flight would have been great – they did a display at Avalon with a new KC-30A refueling two F/A-18’s (next post)

      Liked by 1 person

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