An Aussie's travels to air shows, aviation museums and related events around the world, with a bit of aerospace history along the way!
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 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).
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.
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venerable Lockheed AP-3C Orion (12-15 P-8A’s will enter service and the last of 18 AP-3C aircraft are scheduled to be withdrawn by 2021).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!).
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.