One of the world’s largest aircraft has landed at RAAF Base Williamtown carrying the first delivery of Australia’s state of the art training equipment for the Joint Strike Fighter.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said the Antonov An-124 touched down on Wednesday after a two day journey from the United Kingdom carrying equipment for the Australian F-35A Integrated Training Centre.
“This delivery includes an Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer which is a replica of the F-35A aircraft escape systems and a Weapons Load Trainer, which replicates the F-35A fuselage, including the weapons bay and wing hard points.
“The equipment will provide Australia with its own F-35 pilot and maintainer training capability and will form part of the overall Australian F-35A Training System,” Minister Payne said.
"Importantly this equipment will enable our pilots and crews to train without having to remove aircraft from flight schedules.
“This is an important milestone with two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft to be based at RAAF Base Williamtown from December 2018 and pilot training expected to commence at Williamtown from mid next year."
Minister Payne said future deliveries to Williamtown’s No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit will include six Full Mission Simulators required for F-35A pilot training.
“The first two of these six simulators will be delivered later this year,” she said.
The Antonov departed Yorkshire on 30 April 2018, with stop overs at Gujarat, India and Senai, Malaysia before arriving at Williamtown.
RAAF Base Williamtown last hosted an Antonov 124—the ‘baby’ of the Antonov heavy lift fleet—approximately ten years ago.