F-35A Joint Strike Fighters to conduct first training over Salt Ash Air Weapons Range

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No. 3 Squadron from RAAF Base Williamtown will conduct the first training for F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft over the Salt Ash Air Weapons Range (SAAWR) from Monday 6 May to Friday 17 May.

Up to four jets will conduct a number of passes over the range for up to two weeks during weekdays only.

Acting Commander Air Combat Group, Group Captain (GPCAPT) Harvey Reynolds said the initial training runs would involve a series of dry passes over the range, and be followed by gunnery activities.

GPCAPT Reynolds said residents living in East Medowie, Salt Ash and Lemon Tree Passage can expect the range to be used intermittently throughout this period.

“SAAWR training activities are an important part of the validation and verification phase for the newly introduced aircraft and the aircrew,’’ he said.

“The program will include practicing F-35A weapons loading and unloading procedures, and provide gunnery practice which remains an essential skill for fighter aircrew,’’ he said.

The F-35A aircraft will operate over the range in a similar manner to the F/A-18 A/B Hornet aircraft.

F-35A operations over the SAAWR were assessed and approved as part of the F35A Environment Impact Statement.

“Annual use of SAAWR will remain well under the usage allowed under the operational conditions for the range which is a maximum of 115 days each year over a 10 year rolling average,’’ GPCAPT Reynolds said.

“Air Force has a responsibility to ensure personnel are ready and able to deploy at short notice and this involves necessary air-to-ground training that is employed at SAAWR,’’ he said.

Every effort is made to minimise any inconvenience to residents during SAAWR training. The range schedule can change at short notice due to weather or operational considerations.

Members of the community seeking further information are invited to call 1800 033 200, or refer to our Ops Near Me site.

Information on aircraft noise and current flying activities is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/aircraftnoise, or by calling 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362)