F-35A Lightning - Low-level training over Great Lakes area, Mid-north coast NSW

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Residents in the Forster and Bulahdelah areas are advised up to five F-35A Lightning aircraft from RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle will conduct essential low flying training activities this week 27-30 April.

Seventeen F-35A Lightning II aircraft are now based at RAAF Base Williamtown, and are gradually replacing the ageing F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft.

Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Tim Alsop said local residents might be surprised to see different fighter jets conducting low flying activities in the area.

No. 3 Squadron (3SQN) training will include some low-level flying as part of developing air-to-surface tactics.

“3SQN aircrew are all experienced pilots who have been flying the F-35A aircraft in the United States since 2015, and in Australia since their introduction in December 2018.

“Developing skills in low-level attacks is an important part of Defence training – and we need to test the F-35A capability as part of the verification and validation process for its initial operating capability,’’ AIRCDRE Alsop said.

Fighter jets operate over the ocean well off the Hunter and Great Lakes coasts for 70 per cent of their training.

The remaining 30 per cent of operations are conducted to the west and north of RAAF Base Williamtown and other parts of Australia.

“Air Force is committed to ensuring every effort is made to minimise any inconvenience to residents living in these areas and the ongoing support of local communities is appreciated,” AIRCDRE Alsop said.

AIRCDRE Alsop said local residents can refer to the RAAF Base Williamtown Operations Near Me site for information on flying operations, and can subscribe to RSS feeds for updates. 

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)