Australian International Airshow soars to new heights

The Australian International Airshow is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and never fails to excite, but this year it reaches new highs with the Australian debut of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II.

Hosted at Geelong’s Avalon Airport, the Australian International Aerospace and Defence Exposition operates for three trade-only days from Tuesday, 28 February, and then opens to the general public for the Australian International Airshow from 2pm on Friday, 3 March.

The expo is one of the Asia Pacific region’s most prestigious aviation, aerospace and defence showcases, and an ideal opportunity for Victoria to highlight its capabilities as a global leader in research and hi-tech manufacturing in these sectors.

Major global business event

The Aerospace and Defence Exposition is a major global business event, with 35,000 delegates expected to attend the industry-only trade sessions. Almost 650 exhibiting companies and 158 delegations from 45 countries have confirmed their attendance.

They include Air Chiefs and Air Force leaders from throughout the Indo Asia Pacific region, as well as senior civil aviation, air transport, aerospace and defence industry, military and government decision-makers from around the world.

Victoria’s strengths on display

The State Government of Victoria is a proud sponsor of the Australian International Airshow, which gels well with our current ‘Defence Excellence — Mission Possible’ drive to promote the state’s burgeoning defence industry.

The sector contributes up to A$8 billion to Victoria’s economy annually and includes more than 300 businesses employing more than 7,000 people.

The state is home to Australia’s highest concentration of advanced defence technology capability, as evidenced by the fact that Victorian companies have won 70 per cent of all contracts awarded to Australia on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Competitive advantages in fields such as engineering, design, advanced manufacturing, cyber technologies and robotics position Victoria well to participate in future defence industry growth areas—such as cyber security, military vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles, aerospace technology and defence service provision.

Networking and engagement

Over 40 conferences, seminars and symposia will be held in conjunction with the expo to provide supplementary forums for the exchange of ideas, networking and engagement.

These include the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems’ “Transforming Australia with Drone Technology” conference, focusing on unmanned aerial systems for both military and civilian applications; and the Next Generation World Airports Conference, which will explore the airports of the future.

Airshow a guaranteed crowd-pleaser

The Australian International Airshow is expected to attract some 200,000 visitors. It showcases the raw potency and power of modern military aviation, and has a huge range of attractions that offer something for every visitor.

Almost 350 aircraft from 11 countries, including 79 military aircraft from eight nations, will be on display. These will include almost 50 RAAF aircraft, which will take part in a series of high-octane flying displays and fascinating ground exhibits.

It is a record level of participation by the RAAF at Avalon and one that reflects the theme of the event: Air Power in Action.

Joint Strike Fighters an Australian first

A highlight is sure to be the first Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters ever seen in Australia. Two of these state-of-the-art, fifth-generation aircraft will be flown directly to Avalon from their base in the US, where they are currently being used to train Australian pilots.

The RAAF currently has 72 F-35s on order, and they are expected to first enter service in 2020. This potent fighter is able to employ a wide range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons, and its unique construction makes it virtually invisible to radar.

Eight aerobatics displays will be conducted by teams from around the world, including the US and Europe.

The extensive ground display of aircraft will include the Drone Showcase, featuring ongoing drone demonstrations and information sessions by industry experts.

The Australian Defence Force ground display will include material such as the Army M1 Abrams battle tank and howitzers.