F-35A Lightning II aircraft remain in the Top End for training

Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft from No. 81 Wing will conduct operational conversion training at RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory, from 27 June to 2 September 2022.

Normally operating from RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit have been in Darwin for Exercise Diamond Storm. They will remain in the NT to facilitate significant runway works at Newcastle Airport, as part of the federal government’s $66 million upgrade to international standards.

Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Tim Alsop, said a number of large scale exercises will be occurring in the Northern Territory over this period, beginning with the just-completed Exercise Diamond Storm. Exercise Pitch Black, involving a diverse array of aircraft from Australia and our partner nations, will return in mid-August.

“Some F-35A operations will still occur at RAAF Base Williamtown during the runway upgrade, but the majority of our people and aircraft will relocate to other bases in Australia and overseas,” Air Commodore Alsop said.

“No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit and No. 77 Squadron will deploy to RAAF Base Darwin, Northern Territory and No. 3 Squadron will deploy to RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland,’’ he said.

“Our F-35A squadrons will operate in the deployed locations as they ordinarily would at RAAF Base Williamtown, conducting essential operational training.’’

Air Commodore Alsop highlighted noise reduction and the environment are vital considerations in the planning and conduct of military flying.

“Aircrew always aim to minimise noise and disruption to the community when flying near residential areas,” Air Commodore Alsop said.

“We appreciate the ongoing support from the Darwin, Katherine and the wider Northern Territory community.”

Members of the community seeking further information are invited to call 1800 033 200.

Further information about the F-35A Lightning II can be found on our Technology page.

Imagery of the F-35A Lightning II I available on the Defence Image Gallery.

For more information, visit the Defence Aircraft Noise website or call 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362).

Flying schedule

  • Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft will conduct operational conversion training at RAAF Base Darwin.