Locals in Sydney and Melbourne are left mystified by squadrons of fighter jets

Locals in Sydney and Melbourne are left mystified by squadrons of fighter jets

In recent days, locals in Sydney and Melbourne have been left mystified by squadrons of fighter jets rumbling over their cities. State-of-the-art F-35A Lighting II aircraft made by Lockheed Martin were seen flying over Melbourne on Friday and were followed on Monday by 14 jets flying over the city in formation, including nine T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic fighters made by Korea Aerospace Industries.

Sydney also experienced the same jets flying over the harbour city last Tuesday. However, there is a simple explanation for these flyovers – both models of aircraft appeared at the Australian International Airshow being held at Avalon Airport in Victoria this week.

The airshow, which opens to the general public from March 3 to March 5, is expected to ramp up the frequency of flyovers over the next week. The T-50s are from the Republic Of Korea Air Force’s (ROKAF) Black Eagles aerobatic team, and they followed a route that took them from Avalon in the city’s northwest, along the Bass Coast and back to Port Phillip Heads. The demonstration’s final leg was over Melbourne’s CBD, before the allies returned to Avalon airport.

The F-35A Lighting II belong to Australia’s air force, with the RAAF having about 59 of the 72 it has ordered from Lockheed Martin – the biggest fleet outside of the US. Lockheed is hoping to deliver more F-35 fighter planes to Australia but is waiting for the outcome of the Australian government’s defence strategic review.

Australia’s other well-known fighter jets, the F/A-18 Super Hornet made by Boeing, is expected to end production in late 2025 after final delivery to the US Navy. The company said it will continue developing upgrades to the current F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers fleet. The latter is a carrier-based electronic version of the jet which Australia also has a fleet of. The Super Hornet featured prominently in the 2022 movie Top Gun: Maverick.

Boeing said ending F/A-18 production will let it focus on future crewed and uncrewed military aircraft and increase production of other defence projects. The company said it plans to build three new facilities in St Louis, where the F/A-18s are assembled.

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