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RAAF P-8A Poseidon completes first overseas deployment

A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon has completed its first deployment to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base (RMAF) Butterworth

Terry Turner

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A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon has completed its first deployment to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base (RMAF) Butterworth as part of Operation GATEWAY.

The Poseidon was deployed to Malaysia in support of the Operational Test and Evaluation of the P-8A as it is introduced to service. This deployment was a key milestone on the path to declaring Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the aircraft and its system over the next 12 months.

The Poseidon’s predecessor, the AP‑3C Orion, has operated from RMAF Butterworth for a number of decades as part of the bilateral Malaysian and Australian Operation GATEWAY.

Operation GATEWAY is Australia’s enduring contribution to the preservation of regional security and stability in South East Asia. The operation provides maritime surveillance patrols in the North Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

Operation GATEWAY is a key element in the bilateral Defence relationship between Australia and Malaysia. The state of the art Poseidon is refining its ability to take over this surveillance role in 2018.

Commander of Surveillance and Response Group, Air Commodore Craig Heap said the successful first overseas deployment of the Poseidon was a significant step towards realising the full capability of the P-8A in an Australian context.

“Maritime surveillance in this part of the world has been a core mission of Number 92 Wing for decades with the Poseidon’s capabilities well suited to continue this role,”  Air Commodore Heap said.

“The aircraft, the aircrew who operate it, and the maintenance and support teams that keep the jet flying, have all performed extremely well during the deployment.”

Following testing of the Poseidon’s ability to deploy and operate from forward bases on the north and north-west Australian mainland in April, this deployment to RMAF Butterworth marks the first time a RAAF P-8A Poseidon has operated from an overseas environment since the first aircraft arrived in November 2016.

Missions flown by the aircraft included patrols in the Northern Indian Ocean and South China Sea aimed at testing and refining how the P-8A will be operated in those environments. Each mission utilised the Poseidon’s advanced sensor suite and data connectivity.

During each mission the aircraft conducted routine maritime surveillance on merchant and naval shipping along some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

“With this overseas deployment complete, the next step from June through to July will be the completion of the operational evaluation of the Poseidons’s Search and Rescue capability. This will be another important step as we move toward declaring Initial Operational Capability of the P-8A system,” Air Commodore Heap said.

Terry Turner is Senior Editor for Defence.com.au and Editor in Chief for the entire stable of CYBER PRESS magazines.CYBER PRESS is an Australian media business specialising in multi-channel broad audience online digital publishing. Our company is the evolution of Eco Magazines, Australia's premiere dedicated online publisher of full-format digital magazines. Put simply, we specialise, where many merely dabble.

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Air Force

Australian F-35 Lightening Fighters clock up 1000th flight

Australia’s F-35 Lightning jet fighter fleet clocked up its 1000th flying sortie.

Terry Turner

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Photo: Alexander H Groves (Lockheed Martin)

Australian personnel currently based at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, in the United States, marked a significant milestone this week as Australia’s F-35 Lightning fleet clocked up its 1000th flying sortie.

Our F-35A team is working together with the 56th Fighter Wing US Air Force and Lockheed Martin to develop Australia’s initial F-35A capability. Royal Australian Air Force pilots and maintenance personnel are fully embedded and integrated in USAF squadrons as they prepare to lead Australia’s transition to a fifth-generation Air Force.

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Air Force

EA-18G Growler at Riverfire

A RAAF EA-18G Hornet, aka the Growler, at Riverfire, Brisbane, Queensland.

D+I Newsroom

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has a long association with Brisbane’s Sunsuper Riverfire.

The ADF was proud to take part in the 20th anniversary of Sunsuper Riverfire in 2017 with flying displays by the Air Force’s Roulettes, EA-18G Growlers, C-17A Globemaster and Army’s MRH90 helicopters.

The RAAF EA-18G Growler depicted here is conducting flying practice along the Brisbane River in preparation for Brisbane’s Sunsuper Riverfire, an annual family event run attracting enormous crowds along the Brisbane River.

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AIR

Australia’s Chief of Air Force Completes First Flight in the AIR 5428 PC-21

Terry Turner

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EAST SALE, Australia, August 16, 2017 – In a recent ceremony that marked a significant milestone for the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) celebrated the Chief of Air Force first flight of the in-service PC-21 aircraft.

The occasion was celebrated at a media event hosted by Australian Minister for Defence Senator the Hon Marise Payne, in East Sale, Australia.  Also in attendance was The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, highlighting the significance of the program to the Australian Government.

Vince Di Pietro, chief executive for Lockheed Martin Australia attended the event along with AIR 5428 partners Pilatus Aircraft and Hawker Pacific.

“We are excited to celebrate this momentous occasion with the CAF and recognise this marks the beginning of training for Australia’s fifth-generation air capability,” said Vince Di Pietro. “This milestone is a great achievement to all involved and we celebrate the Australian Defence Force’s first flight in service and acceptance of the first six of 49 PC-21 aircraft, as the mainstay trainer for Australia’s pilot training program for decades to come.”

“Combining the PC-21 turboprop training aircraft with state-of-the-art training simulations and an electronic learning environment, Australia’s new Pilot Training System will prepare Australia’s next-generation pilots for mission success.”

The AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is an integrated solution tailored for all future pilots of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army.

“Lockheed Martin Australia leads the delivery of integrated solutions for all future pilots of the Australian Defence Force,” said Amy Gowder, vice president of Training and Logistics Solutions for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems business.  “This milestone is an important achievement, and confirms the Lockheed Martin-led team is on track to deliver a world-class pilot training solution to the Australian Defence Force.”

Under the AIR 5428 contract, Lockheed Martin is providing overall project management for the pilot training system and delivering a family of integrated ground-based training technologies. Pilatus Aircraft is providing 49 PC-21 turboprop training aircraft and through-life engineering and airworthiness support, while Hawker Pacific is providing maintenance services and fleet support, and leveraging its established supply chain in Australia.                                          

Signed in December 2015, the initial seven-year AIR 5428 Pilot Training System is valued at AU$1.2 billion, with performance-based options to extend the value and length of the contract for up to 25 years.

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