Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today visited RAAF Base Pearce ahead of the Pearce Airshow, to be held tomorrow Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 May.
The Airshow will showcase flying and ground displays of Air Force’s sophisticated combat, air lift, surveillance and training aircraft.
Air Force aircraft to participate in the Air Show include F/A-18 A/B Classic Hornets and F/A-18 F Super Hornets.
Australia has 71 Classic Hornets. The Hornet is a multi-role fighter designed for both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. It is capable of air interception, air combat, close air support of ground troops, and interdiction of enemy supply lines including shipping.
Australia is the first country outside the United States to fly the Super Hornet. It is an operationally proven aircraft having been flown by the United States Navy since 2001. Australia has 24 Super Hornets.
The Super Hornet gives the Royal Australian Air Force an enhanced capability to conduct air-to-air combat, strike targets on land and at sea, suppress enemy air defences and conduct reconnaissance.
The 2009 Defence White Paper outlined the Government’s decision to wire 12 of our Super Hornets to enable them to be equipped at a later stage with the full Growler capability.
Growler is an electronic warfare enhancement system that gives the Super Hornet the ability to jam the electronics systems of aircraft and land-based radars and communications systems.
In March, the Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare and I announced that the Government had approved more than $19 million for the purchase of long lead item electronic equipment for the potential conversion of twelve of Australia’s Super Hornets to the EA-18G Growler variant.
The 2012-13 Budget enables the Government to consider the acquisition of the Growler capability this year.
Air lift transport aircraft on display will include C-130 Hercules, C-17A Globemaster and KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transports.
Air lift is a critical element of the Australian Defence Force’s capability to deploy, whether it is to Afghanistan or in support of humanitarian and disaster relief operations at home or in our region.
In Afghanistan, C-17 and C-130J aircraft provide the transport backbone for the Australian Defence Force’s operations.
In 2011, the Australian Defence Force’s air lift capability responded effectively to a range of natural disasters in Australia, including floods in Queensland and Victoria as well as in New Zealand and Japan.
On 10 May I announced that the Government had agreed to further strengthen the Australian Defence Force’s air lift capability with the purchase of 10 C-27J Spartan Battlefield Airlift aircraft at a cost of approximately $1.4 billion.
The acquisition of the C-27J will significantly improve the ADF’s ability to move troops, equipment and supplies. The C-27J has the capacity to carry significant load and still access small, soft, narrow runways that are too short for the C-130J or runways which are unable to sustain repeated use of larger aircraft.
Also on display at the Pearce Airshow will be an AP-3C Orion aircraft. Australia’s fleet of 19 Orions undertake a range of surveillance, reconnaissance and response roles, strengthening Australia’s border protection operations against people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy.
Two AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft also currently provide maritime surveillance in support of international counter piracy, counter terrorism and maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean and overland surveillance in support of operations in Afghanistan.
The Airshow will also feature a range of international aircraft, including a United States B-52 bomber.
Mr Smith’s Office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999