Squadrons of fighter jets roaring over Sydney and Melbourne in recent days have left locals baffled – but they are about to become more common in Victoria.
State-of-the-art F-35A Lighting II aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin, roared over Melbourne on Friday, rattling windows and causing locals to look skyward.
This was followed on Monday by 14 jets flying in formation over the city, including nine T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic fighters made by Korea Aerospace Industries.
Sydney was also not immune to the wild noises as the same jets appeared over the port city around noon last Tuesday.
But there’s a simple explanation: both models will appear this week at the Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport in Victoria.
F-35A Lighting II aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin, roared over Melbourne in preparation for the opening of the Australian International Airshow on February 28
The fighters are considered to be some of the most advanced in the world
One of the F-35As, worth more than $70 million each, flies over Melbourne’s coastline on Friday
The defense and industrial portion of the exposition runs from February 28 to March 5, with the air show opening to the general public from March 3 to March 5.
Flyovers are expected to increase significantly in the coming week.
The T-50s belong to the Black Eagles aerobatic team of the Republic Of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) and are known for their distinctive black, white and yellow paint.
In a statement, the RAAF explained that the stunt was in preparation for the 2023 Australian International Airshow and that it is the Black Eagles’ first visit to Australia.
The fighter jets followed a route that took them from Avalon in the northwest of the city, along the Bass Coast and back to Port Phillip Heads.
The last part of the demonstration was over Melbourne’s CBD, before the Allies returned to Avalon airport.
The similar stunt in Sydney left locals wondering, ‘Why are there extremely noisy fighter jets flying over Sydney?’
While another labeled them “deafening.”
The F-35A Lighting II belongs to the Australian Air Force and the RAAF has about 59 of the 72 it has ordered from Lockheed Martin – the largest fleet outside the US.
Lockheed hopes to deliver more F-35 fighter jets to Australia but is awaiting the outcome of the Australian government’s strategic review, an executive said on Tuesday.
“We hope for the opportunity to deliver more F-35s than[the 72 on order],” Executive Vice President of Aeronautics business, Greg Ulmer, told reporters.
Lockheed has had initial talks with Australia about combining the F-35 with the Boeing Ghost Bat unmanned fighter drone, but no decision has yet been made, Ulmer said.
The Royal Korean Air Force team roared over Melbourne on Monday afternoon – puzzling many locals who were unaware the stunt took place
The F-35As (pictured) will eventually replace the RAAF’s F/A-18 Hornets
The Korean Black Eagles aerobatic team flies signature black, white and yellow aircraft
Australia’s other well-known fighter jets, the F/A-18 Super Hornet made by Boeing, are expected to end production in late 2025 after a final delivery to the US Navy.
Production of the aircraft could be extended to 2027 if India places an order, the company said.
The first F/A-18 debuted in 1983 and was built by McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997.
The company said it will continue to develop upgrades to its current fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. The latter is a carrier-based electronic version of the jet that Australia also has a fleet of.
The Super Hornet featured prominently in the 2022 film Top Gun: Maverick, with Cruise reprising his role in a 1980s film about a Navy pilot.
The sequel received positive reviews and was among the highest-grossing films last year.
More than 2,000 Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers have been supplied to the US military and the governments of many allies, including Australia, Canada, Finland and Malaysia.
Boeing said ending production of the F/A-18 will allow the company to focus on future military aircraft, both crewed and unmanned, and increase production on other defense projects.
The company said it plans to build three new facilities in St. Louis where the F/A-18s will be assembled.