In videos that quickly made their way onto social media platforms like Twitter, a formation of four RAAF F/A-18 Hornets joined the new F-35As in a low pass over RAAF Base Williamtown. The Hornets then peel away from the echelon formation in rapid succession, leaving the F-35s to continue on their own.
Australia is currently amid an American-backed modernization effort for its aging fighters, which includes 71 operational F/A-18 Hornets out of an initial purchase of just 75 back in 1981. It would seem the Australians really know how to take care of their jets.
Their new fighter fleets will be made up of 72 (planned) F-35As, 24 F/A-18 Super Hornets, and another 12 or so EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft. All told, the transition is expected to be complete by 2023, though as is the case with all things F-35, these timelines are subject to change.
— Tyson Cottrill (@TysonCottrill) December 9, 2018
Australia has already received 10 F-35s, though thus far they had all remained at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona while the Australian aviators trained to fly them. This week’s two F-35s are the first of the ten to make the trip around the world and arrive in their new home.