F-35A Lightning II Squadrons conduct early morning departures to allow for runway works program at RAAF Base Williamtown

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is advising residents living near the RAAF Base Williamtown that F-35A Lightning II aircraft will conduct early morning departures to avoid training restrictions as a result of runway works as from Monday 1 November 2022.

The works program comprises reconstruction and essential maintenance of aircraft pavements, airfield lighting and drainage works, valued at $115 million. The program also includes $66 million to strengthen the runway and taxiways to support larger commercial aircraft operating out of Newcastle airport as announced by the Government in May 2021. 

The early departures will continue until the project is completed.

Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Tim Alsop, said other flying activities may need to be adopted in the short term to address restrictions around take-offs and landing created as a result of the extensive runway works program. 

“F-35A squadrons need to conduct essential air combat training to prepare new military fast jet pilots, and ensure operational preparedness, currency and proficiency objectives are met for qualified aircrew.

“The approved hours of operation for RAAF Base Williamtown is 6am to 10pm and up to 11pm during Australian eastern daylight time.

“However, as we are an operational airbase, we can conduct military operations 24 hours a day if required,’’ AIRCDRE Alsop said.

“The runway works program has disrupted F-35A operations since the end of May this year.  Squadrons have deployed to other bases in Australia and overseas from June through to September.”

“Deployments are expensive to our workforce and additional extended time away from families are difficult for our aircrew, technical and support personnel,” he said.

“We are now using this opportunity to normalise military air base operations from RAAF Base Williamtown, so that activity may occur at any time of the day to meet training and preparedness objectives,” AIRCDRE Alsop said.

“However, No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit will deploy to RAAF Base Amberley until the end of February next year, to ensure the non-standard runway configuration does not affect basic F-35A pilot training,” he said.

Air Commodore Alsop said Air Combat Group squadrons would conduct all flying operations within strict operational guidelines designed to minimise noise to local residents as much as possible.

“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 Port Stephens 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 Aircraft 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

  • F-35A Squadrons will conduct early morning departures between 6am and 7am weekdays to accommodate the extensive RAAF BASE Williamtown/Newcastle Airport runway works from 1 November 2022 into 2023.