The long awaited arrival of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighters is over, with the first two jets scheduled to touch down at their new home on the RAAF Base at Williamtown on Monday, December 10.
Members of the public will be treated to a formation flypast of the pair of JSFs as well as three F/A-18 Classic Hornets along the Port Stephens coast prior to the aircraft landing at the Williamtown base.
According to a Defence spokesperson, the flypast is expected to commence at 9:50am off Tomaree Head and into Port Stephens.
“The jets will fly in proximity to Nelson Bay and Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens, before heading out the Heads and turning south,” the spokesperson said.
“The formation will track along the Tomaree coast and Worimi Conservation Lands, to Nobbys Lighthouse and down the coast before looping back over the top of Lake Macquarie. They will then head north towards Williamtown via Raymond Terrace and Medowie, touching down at Williamtown at approximately 10:10am.”
ALSO READ: F-35A Joint Strike Fighter fast facts
The RAAF has organised the flypast to assist people to view the aircraft at many locations rather than travelling to the base, where there is expected to be significant traffic congestion along Medowie and Nelson Bay roads.
“The aircraft will fly as low as 75m along some parts of the coast, and not below 450m over built-up areas including Nelson Bay, Raymond Terrace and Medowie. They are expected to reach speeds of approximately 500-550km/h.”
The spokesperson said that Port residents would be advised to head to any vantage point or exposed location along the route at least 30 minutes before the scheduled times.
“This is a significant event for the wider Port Stephens community, as the previous fighter aircraft type – the F/A-18A/B Hornet – arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown in 1984. In the event of poor weather, or operational considerations, the flypast may be cancelled.”
Work on the infrastructure required for the RAAF Base to house the JSFs was ongoing “however the necessary components for the arrival of the first two aircraft are complete”.
The new jets will be phased into service to replace the F/A18-A/B Classic Hornet fleet.