The Super Hornets, operated by No. 1 and No. 6 Squadrons out of RAAF Base Amberley, give Australia an upgraded air combat capability for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions until the full introduction into service of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
A life size mock-up of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter was one of the exciting exhibits at the Airshow, along with the opportunity to meet the first two Australian pilots who will start their training on the F35 soon.
The F-35A's combination of stealth, advanced sensors, networking and data fusion capabilities, when integrated with other defence systems, will enable the RAAF to maintain an air combat edge.
The Airshow marked the 1914 anniversary of Central Flying School Lt Eric Harrison's flight from Point Cook in a Bristol Boxkite, as Australia's first military aviation flight.
"As Air Force hosts the celebration of the centenary of Australia's first military flight, we are also focused on maintaining the traditions of service that have built the world's second oldest air force, the Royal Australian Air Force," Chief of Air Force AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said. "Air Force has evolved so much in 100 years, however we must continue to acknowledge the lessons of the past and remember those who came before us."
While most of the attention was on the planes and equipment, the surpassing thrill was the opportunity to meet the real heroes, the RAAF men and women. They are the ones who make the planes fly. It is their passion that drives the RAAF. Talking with them and hearing their stories was the highlight of the Airshow.
The names of the first two Australian pilots selected to undergo training in the United States on the F-35A Lightning II, commonly known as the Joint Strike Fighter, were today announced by the Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Davies. "It is fitting to announce the future of this capability here at Point Cook, where military aviation in Australia was born," he said. "Our history is important, and our first two pilots will make history as they become our first pilots to fly this fifth generation aircraft. "Not only do they represent the future of RAAF, they will have an important leadership and training role as future instructors for the F-35A," AVM Davies said.
Squadron Leaders Andrew Jackson and David Bell, currently based at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW, were selected for their operational flying skills, extensive experience and leadership. They are among the very best in their field. They will soon travel to the United States to commence their training.
Also our RAAF Chaplains do an outstanding job in caring for the personnel. They are always there for their air men and women, providing comfort and encouragement, being Christ's representative. I met chaplains from all over Australia who serve in this way. They bring Christ's grace and mercy to these men and women. They provide for personnel's physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html