A pair of Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters over NSW.
A pair of Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Joint Strike Fighters over NSW.

VIDEO: 'Supersonic, stealth fighter' over Evans Head

THE Royal Australian Air Force has shared incredible footage of one of their F-35A Lightnings flying over the Evans Head Air Weapons Range.

In a social media post, the Air Force explained the bomb it dropped was inert.

"But it's the first time since the retirement of the F-111 that precision weapons have been employed at Evans Head Air Weapons Range," they said.

According to the Air Force's website, the F-35A Lightning II is the Australian Defence Force's first fifth-generation air combat capability.

"It is a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter which will meet Australia's requirements to defeat current and emerging threats," the website explained.

The F-35A's advanced sensors and data fusion allows it to gather more information and share it with other Air Force aircraft, Navy ships and Army units quicker than ever before.

"In addition, to greatly enhanced situational awareness, the F-35A provides its pilots with significantly higher levels of lethality and survivability in combat."

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.

The first F-35A aircraft was accepted into Australian service in 2018, with the first arriving in country in December that year.

The first F-35A squadron, No. 3 Squadron, will be operational in 2021.

All 72 aircraft are expected to be fully operational by 2023.

See the footage here:

BOMBS AWAY! Check out this footage of one of our F-35A Lightnings over Evans Head Air Weapons Range. The bomb it...

Posted by Royal Australian Air Force on Sunday, 23 August 2020

It comes as the Royal Australian Air Force outlined the next six months of planned operations at the Evans Head Air Weapons Range.

Air Force currently operates F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft from RAAF Base Amberley, conducting gunnery and bombing operations at EVDAWR. 

Aircrew also conduct low level flying during each mission within the range airspace.

Commander of Air Combat Group, Air Commodore Tim Alsop, said an Air Force review of the range had determined that EVDAWR was suitable as a gunnery and bombing practice area for the F-35A Lightning II.

"Squadron aircrew plan to use the EVDAWR for air to surface bombing training activities for the Lightning in the same manner as the F/A-18F Super Hornet,'' he said.

Environmental clearances allow Air Force to use the range, including the overwater area, for up to 70 days a year. 

Of those 70 days, 40 days have been set aside for gunnery.

The scheduled program until December 2020 is:

  • October 12-16 - F/A-18F Super Hornets
  • October 19-23 - F/A-18F Super Hornets
  • October 26-30 - F/A - 18F Super Hornets
  • November 9-13 - F-35A Lightning II trial verification and validation.

Training activities can involve up to two waves of aircraft per day, and may involve live strafing and lasers. 

Aircraft will not use the range every day for training activities.

Local residents are advised that access to the range (land areas) remains restricted regardless of activities being conducted. 

This is due to the historical use of the range and the possibility of unexploded ordnance remaining at the site.

For safety reasons, the Southern Defence Practice Area (DPA) (overwater) will be closed from 10am to 5pm during the period of operations.

"Residents are advised that operations on the range can change due to weather or other considerations. Residents must heed the closure of the range overwater areas from 10am to 5pm," Air Commodore Alsop said.

"Defence personnel display Red Flags whenever live firing activities are conducted and carry out patrols to ensure people don't stray into the area.

"Air Force appreciates the ongoing input and long standing support of the local community for our operations.''