Stealth fighter cleared for flights over Evans Head
THE star of the Royal Australian Air Force's air fleet, the F-35A stealth fighter, will twice grace the skies over Evans Head bombing range in the next four months.
Defence has outlined the planned operations at Evans Head Air Weapons Range (EVDAWR), south of Evans Head township from February to May.
This single-seater, next generation fighter, only arrived on Australian shores in 2018.
The F-35A Lightning II s a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter which has bat like look about it.
Despite an extended and sometimes problematic delivery phase, Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.
Air Force currently operates F/A-18F Super Hornet from RAAF Base Amberley and last year began operating F-35A Lightning II aircraft from RAAF Base Williamtown over the Evans head bombing range.
The scheduled program for February to June includes:
* February 8-12 - F-35A Lightning II
* March 15-19 - F/A 18F Super Hornet
* May 17-21 - F-35A Lightning II
Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Tim Alsop confirmed Evans Head was tested and deemed suitable as a gunnery and bombing practice area for the F-35A Lightning II.
"Fast jet military aircraft will also conduct low level flying during each mission within the range airspace,'' AIRCDRE Alsop said.
The 82 Wing Training Flight will operate F/A-18F Super Hornets over the range for dry strafe and application for some days of the scheduled operations. Training activities can involve up to two waves/day application pattern and live strafe and involve lasers. The range's overwater areas will not need to be closed.
"Local residents are advised access to the range (land areas) remains restricted regardless of any activities being conducted. This is due to the historical use of the range and the possibility of unexploded ordnance remaining at the site," AIRCDRE Alsop said.
For safety reasons, the Southern Defence Practice Area (overwater) will be closed from 10am to 5pm during those weeks of F-35A operations.
Residents are advised to heed the closure of the range overwater areas from 10am to 5pm as operations on the range can change due to weather or other operational considerations.
"Defence personnel display Red Flags whenever live firing activities are conducted and carry out patrols to ensure people don't stray into the area," AIRCDRE Alsop said.
"Air Force appreciates the ongoing support the local community provides to our operations.''
The Evans Head Evans Head Air Weapons Range Community Advisory Panel has been advised of these activities.
For further information please refer to the Air Force Operations website on https://www.airforce.gov.au/operations/flying-operations/flying-activity. For a copy of the overwater DPA map and GPS co-ordinates please refer to the Defence website at http://www.defence.gov.au/aircraftnoise; and go to Ops Near Me Evans Head tab.
For F-35A images go to http://images.defence.gov.au/S20192901
For F/A-18F images go to: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20203384
Defence Media: firstname.lastname@example.org