Air Force’s ability to project world-class air power was proudly on display at the 2019 Australian International Airshow at Avalon airport from February 26 to March 3.

The air show lured 15 international Chiefs of Air Force (CAF) as well as Defence and defence industry representatives from more than 30 different nations.

The air show highlighted fifth-generation platforms and heralds an era of fifth-generation thinking for our personnel. This was supported by an impressive display of cutting-edge defence and civil aviation and aerospace technology.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies acknowledged the impressive range of aircraft and equipment on display on the tarmac and across exhibition halls and exhibitor displays.

“The array of aircraft and technology on display here is world class. This is air power for Australia’s future,” Air Marshal Davies said.

“Not only are all of our newest and most exciting military aircraft here, but you can see and feel innovation in action.”

An F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, two F/A-18A/B Hornets and a US Air Force F-22 Raptor fly over the crowds at the Australian International Airshow.

The Australian International Aerospace & Defence Exposition, held over three days prior to the air show, was the most comprehensive aviation, aerospace and defence expo in the Southern Hemisphere.

It brought together Defence and industry partners to showcase both what is available now and what – with sufficient imagination – may be possible in the near future.

Just as the air show highlighted the technological evolution underway in Air Force, it also acknowledged the matching evolution required in training and personnel. With the leap in capability brought about by fifth-generation platforms comes an equal leap in the skills required to operate the aircraft and their systems to full advantage.

“At the core of what we need to do next is attracting, recruiting, training and retaining the workforce that will fly these aircraft,” Air Marshal Davies said.

“The workforce that we will have across the ADF in 10 years’ time must be different to the workforce we had 10 years ago, if we are to maximise all this good gear.”

Included among the Air Force platforms showcased was: the C-17A Globemaster and C-130J Hercules; the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport; the P-8A Poseidon and the Unmanned Aircraft System; the E7-A Wedgetail; and the EA-18G Growler.

“At the core of what we need to do next is attracting, recruiting, training and retaining the workforce that will fly these aircraft.”

There was also an impressive showcase of broader ADF air power, with skilful flying from Army’s ARH Tiger and CH-47D Chinook helicopters, and simulated submarine hunting from Navy’s MH-60R.

All this was in addition to what everyone had come to see: Australia’s first two F-35A aircraft being put through their paces.

Alongside the impressive aircraft that are Australia’s fifth-generation platforms, the innovation that is the driving force behind the Air Force’s fifth-generation edge enjoyed pride of place in the Jericho Precinct.

In the Jericho Dome, CAF’s sentiment around recruitment was being taken to heart, with group after group of young future airmen and women given the chance to engage with the technology behind modern air warfare, including hands-on experiences with robotics and the future technologies that will be critical to Australia’s fifth-generation Air Force.