Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2019-04-03

Avalon Airshow Showcases Aviation’s Best

The 2019 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Expo (AVALON 2019), held from Tuesday 26 February to Sunday 3 March, broke exhibitor and trade day attendance records with 698 companies, 161 official industry and government delegations participating across five days.
 
Attendance across the entire event, held at Avalon Airport near Melbourne, Australia, totalled 171,830. Even though the hot weather on the weekend softened public attendance, when compared to the attendance figures from the 2017 event, the 132,878 public day attendance in 2019 were in line with the Airshow’s historical average.
 
Attendees came to do business, network and see the latest in aviation, aerospace and defence technology, including flying displays from first two Australian based Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth tactical fighter, the Australian Airshow debut of the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet, and the first Australian Airshow display of a Japan Air Self Defence Force aircraft, the Kawasaki C2 transport.
 
The fleet of 371 aircraft on display in the air and on the ground was a new record, as were the 2,591 attendances at 36-associated industry conferences, seminars and briefings, which covered topics from airport development to business aviation, law enforcement aerial operations, defence aviation maintenance, and unmanned systems.
 
Visiting delegations and guests included 15 service chiefs, 9 National Armament Directors, and 24 Chief of Air Force representatives, from 30 countries. There were 94 military aircraft in attendance from six nations.
 
Highlights of the Show
AVALON 2019 “firsts” included the inaugural Space Industry Association of Australia “Reaching for the Stars – Growing Australia’s Space Economy” conference and the first Australian Helicopter Industry Association “Rotortalk” conference. The spotlight of the event was the range of military and civil aircraft taking to skies, and a spectacular aerobatic show by Australian Air Force (RAAF) that dazzled the audience. Australian Defence Force exhibited F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, F/A-18A Hornet and P-8A Poseidon, as well as the PC-21 Roulettes, among other aircraft. 
 
The event also provided a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education platform for more than 1,700 students throughout the week. “As an international aerospace industry exposition, AVALON 2019 was a record‐breaker in both exhibitor numbers and trade day attendances, with a host of major industry announcements and significant international participation from a total of 37 countries,” said AVALON 2019 CEO Ian Honnery.
 
“Once again AVALON was a dynamic platform for interaction between industry, government, academia, and defence. It showcased Australian industry to the world, by bringing the world to Australia.
 
Honnery said that ongoing support from the Royal Australian Air Force, Victorian State Government, and the City of Geelong has contributed greatly to the event’s position as one of the world’s great airshows and global business events. The RAAF makes an enormous commitment to the airshow in aircraft and personnel, as do the Navy and Army. 
 
Air Vanuatu Orders Its First Airbus Aircraft
Airbus secured its first A220 customer in the South Pacific region with Air Vanuatu placing a firm order for four A220s and purchase right for another four at Avalon Airshow. The carrier is expected to receive two A220s in 2020, with remaining two to be delivered in 2021 and 2022. Formerly known as the CSeries under the Bombardier programme, the A220 is powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofans and comes in two models – the A220-100 (100-135 seats) and A220-300 (130-160 seats). 
 
Airbus Completes A2A Refuelling Trials 
Taking a new step towards full certification of the aircraft for air-to-air (A2A) refuelling operations as a tanker, Airbus has successfully completed the certification flight tests for the A400M Cargo Hold Tanks (CHT) refuelling unit. The campaign was performed with the Spanish Air Force Test Centre (CLAEX) and comprised a total of nine flights. 
 
About 90 tonnes of fuel was offloaded to Spanish Air Force EF-18 Hornet receivers and to another A400M prototype as a representative heavy aircraft receiver. The test campaign included the development and certification of the CHTs with the latest Fuel Quantity Management System software, to be certified during 2019. 
 
RAAF Partners with Triton
The RAAF further strengthened its capabilities with the decision to acquire the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton through a cooperative programme with the U.S. Navy. RAAF would potentially incorporate Australian-unique requirements into the unmanned aircraft system (UAS). This follows the announcement of the federal government in June last year to enter a US$200 million agreement for the development, production, and sustainment of Triton. 
 
The Triton UAS is a high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft that is used for maritime patrol and other surveillance roles. With the capacity to support missions up to 24 hours, the Triton is equipped with a sensor suite that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings for over 2,000 nautical miles. Tritons will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh and will operate alongside the P-8A Poseidon.
 
RAAF Trials Remote Airport Control Tower
The RAAF announced that it is trying out a remote airport control tower, which allows to control aircraft movements and landings from anywhere in the world. RAAF is the first to deploy the technology, which is widely used in Europe, in the South Pacific. The joint trial implemented with industry partners Indra Australia and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace has its Virtual Control Tower set up next to the main Air Traffic Control Tower at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland. 
 
RAAF Surveillance and Response Group with its partners have been working to install a Kongsberg 360 Camera System and integrated into NOVA Air Traffic Management system in the remote facility. The system streams live images to a separate site on RAAF Base Amberley, which are then displayed on large monitors, fused through the Air Traffic Management system with radar data and supporting ATC information.
 
 F-35 Engine Upgrade
Despite being one of the most powerful production military engine in service, Pratt & Whitney is looking to add further power and reliability improvements to the F135 engine, which powers the fifth generation F-35 Lightning II aircraft. 
 
Growth Option 2.0 incorporates the same suite of compressor and turbine technology offered in the previously announced Growth Option 1.0, and brings scaled advances in PTMS capacity while maintaining the same fuel burn (5-6 per cent), and thrust improvements (6-10 per cent) across the F-35 flight envelope. 
 
Northrop Grumman Completes 500th Centre Fuselage for F-35
Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the 500th centre fuselage for the F-35 Lightning II. Designated AU-18, the centre fuselage is for the RAAF’s conventional take-off and landing variant. Northrop Grumman began production on the AU-18 centre fuselage in June 2018 and completed work on February 21.  A core structure of the F-35 aircraft, the centre fuselage is designed and produced on Northrop Grumman’s integrated assembly line.
 
Northrop Grumman also develops and maintains wing skins for the aircraft, several sensor systems, avionics, mission systems and mission planning software, pilot and maintainer training systems courseware, electronic warfare simulation test capability, and low-observable technologies.
 
Hawker Pacific to Lead SOH Development 
Hawker Pacific had a huge line up for display at the Avalon Airshow including the Beechcraft King Air 350, Bell 407 and Bell 409 helicopters, as well as single engine Diamond DA40NG and twin-engine Diamond DA42.

The King Air 350 came to Avalon to showcase the company’s work with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
The leading solution provider confirmed that in response to the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) forthcoming Special Operations Helicopter (SOH) acquisition, it will put forward two Bell helicopters as part of its bid to support Australian government’s evolving project LAND 2097/4 special operations helicopter (SOH) requirements.
 
HENSOLDT Shows Off Counter-UAV System
Sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT highlighted its counter-unmanned aerial vehicle system Xpeller at Avalon. Xpeller detects illicit intrusions of UAVs over critical areas, even at long ranges, and offers countermeasures minimising the risk of collateral damage.
 
Xpeller is developed as an answer to incidents of easily available small drones raising security concerns in critical environments like military barracks and airports. The modular Xpeller product family includes various sensors such as radar systems and cameras as well as direction finders and jammers. Hensoldt has designed Xpeller to allow customisation depending on customer requirements and the local conditions.
 
CAE Predator Mission Trainer Enters Service 
A CAE-built Predator Mission Trainer entered service with the Italian Air Force in February. Installed at Amendola Air Base in Italy, the Predator Mission Trainer (PMT) is the highest fidelity simulator ever developed and fielded for the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) Predator family of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) systems. 
 
The Italian milestone follows the award to CAE by GA-ASI to develop a synthetic training system for the UK’s Protector RG Mk1 remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) programme. CAE’s comprehensive synthetic training system that will include desktop and high-fidelity mission trainers specific for the Protector will be based on GA-ASI’s certifiable ground control station (CGCS) and will be the first simulators developed for this advanced CGCS. 
 
Embraer Celebrates 40 Years in Australia
Embraer entered the fifth decade of its operation in Australia after celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2018. Over the last four decades, its commercial jets and turboprops have featured liveries of airlines such as Airnorth, Aeropelican, Cobham Aviation Services, Hardy Aviation, King Island Airlines, Jetgo, Skippers Aviation, and Virgin Australia. The company displayed the Phenom 300E and Legacy 500 executive jets at the Avalon Airshow. Embraer continues to target the replacement market in Australia, where Fokker 70s, Fokker 100s, BAe 146s, Avro RJs and Boeing 717s will eventually reach the end of their operating lives.
 
Boeing Unveils Fighter Jet Sized Drone 
Boeing Co. has unveiled a new concept for an unmanned fighter that would work autonomously alongside fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft and is expected to carry out electronic warfare, in addition to intelligence and surveillance missions. Australian Minister for Defence Hon Christopher Pyne MP, unveiled the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS), an Australian designed fighter-sized unmanned system at the Avalon Airshow. Designed as a ‘loyal wingman’ in conjunction with high-value assets such as the P-8A Poseidon or E-7A Wedgetail for aircraft like the F-35A or F/A-18F, the system was developed in conjunction with the RAAF and the Defence Science & Technology (DST) Group. 
 
QinetiQ Expands Global Training Capability
QinetiQ has completed its acquisition of German company E.I.S. Aircraft Operations, which will be known as QinetiQ GmbH, and has completed a strategic investment of 85 per cent of UK based Inzpire Group Limited. QinetiQ GmbH provides airborne training services based in Germany, and the company says the acquisition will deliver a number of strategic benefits including strengthening capability integration, threat representation, and operational readiness offerings to customers. Inzpire is a provider of operational training and mission systems for military customers in the UK and internationally, with about 75 per cent of its revenue coming from airborne training and evaluation services for the Royal Air Force.  
 
Collins Aerospace Looks to a Bright Future
Newly renamed Collins Aerospace is forging ahead with its Australian operation after its UTAS (a UTC company) acquisition in 2018. Formerly named Rockwell Collins, the company hopes to realise greater economies of scale and from the global portfolio of diverse aerospace and simulation capabilities. With the integration of UTAS and Rockwell Collins legacy companies, Collins Aerospace now has six business units; avionics, interiors, mission systems, power and control, aerostructures, and mechanical. 
 
Collins Aerospace has a large footprint in Australia and has commenced the delivery of eight Digital Terminal Control System (DTCS) simulators to the Australian Army. The company is also a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman, which currently supplies 40 per cent of the electro-optical distributed aperture systems (EA DAS) to the global F-35 JSF fleet. 
 
BAE Systems Signs US$245m Hawk contract
BAE Systems Australia has won a two-year contract, worth US$245 million, to continue sustaining the RAAF Hawk Mk127 Lead-In Fighter fleet. The company will continue to sustain the Hawk fleet at Williamtown and RAAF Base Pearce in WA until at least 2022, with further potential performance-based extensions. 
 
The role includes all deeper and operational-level maintenance, logistics and the management of the Australian supply chain for the programme. Hawk is a successful and proven advanced jet trainer that can put student pilots at controls of combat aircraft including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Reflecting the RAAF’s strategy to bring innovative asset management to sustainment, the contract sees BAE Systems Australia playing a critical role in the long-term availability and capability of the Hawk aircraft. 
 
Lockheed Martin in New Strategic Partnership
Lockheed Martin and the Commonwealth have signed an Agreement for Australian F-35 sovereign sustainment contracts, establishing Lockheed Martin as a key Strategic F-35 sustainment partner for Australia. The Minister for Defence, Hon Christopher Pyne, made the announcement at the Avalon Airshow. The Heads of Agreement provides a set of contracting principles for both the Australian Department of Defence and Lockheed Martin Australia to deliver ongoing F-35 sovereign contracts for the life of the F-35A Australian fleet.
 
Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, Vince Di Pietro, said the agreement is the cornerstone of the partnership between Lockheed Martin and the Australian customer and will reduce red tape for all new contracts. 
 
Kongsberg Extends its Reach
Norwegian company Kongsberg expanded its Australian footprint with the victory in the NASAMS contest and with the prospect of selling its anti-ship missile to the RAAF. The company’s acquisition of Rolls Royce Commercial Marine, including its local subsidiary, has also added 40 employees to its Australian workforce. In July 2017, the government announced Kongsberg and Raytheon were chosen to provide a medium to long-range air defence system for the Australian Defence Force through Project LAND 19, the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), which was originally developed for Norway.
 
Following this, Kongsberg opened an office in Canberra. NASAMS will give Australia an air defence capability far greater than provided by the legacy RBS-70 missiles. It will be able to deploy to defend a mobile task group. Each system comprises the Fire Distribution Centre for command and control, radars for air surveillance and the missile launchers. Other nations have used the U.S. Sentinel radar but Australia plans to use the Australian CEA Tactical radar. 
 
Kongsberg is also offering Australia its Joint Strike Missile (JSM), an advanced anti-ship missile designed to be launched from the F-35 internal weapons bay. Development concluded last June with F-35 integration now underway. Australia was especially interested in this capability, as initially, the U.S. did not regard developing F-35 maritime strike as a priority. 
 
Raytheon ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer 
By the middle of next decade, the RAAF will be fielding a world-class capability to blot out other people’s radio communications and to fool their radar. The Raytheon ALQ-249 next-generation jammer mid-band is now in the final stages of development, with the U.S. Navy likely to declare initial operating capability in 2022. 
 
Australia sees ALQ-249 as a critical element of capability for the E/A-18G Growler aircraft and has participated in the development process. Six Australians are embedded within the U.S. Navy development programme. The next generation jammer (NGJ) will replace the legacy ALQ-99 jammer.
 
ALQ-249 has been developed to cover the mid-frequency band where most threat systems can be found. Jammer pods to cover the low and high bands of the spectrum are under development. A Growler shipset will comprise two underwing pods, each equipped with dual AESA antennae and designed to work in concert, dealing with multiple threats simultaneously. With high power, a jammer can simply swamp other people’s communications but the capability reportedly extends to spoofing target radar systems through generating false returns. 
 
Global Hawk Lands at Avalon
Northrop Grumman Global Hawk unmanned aircraft touched down at the Avalon Airshow. The aircraft, with a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 departed U.S. base on Guam, in the northern Pacific, and flew nonstop for 5,700 kilometres, arriving at Avalon. 
 
However, Global Hawk is no stranger to Australia, the first aircraft visited Avalon in 2015 and others staged through Australia on route to surveillance missions over Afghanistan early in the war on terror.

Global Hawk is the parent to Triton, which Australia is buying to perform high-altitude long-range surveillance out into the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It was the first pilotless aircraft to cross the Pacific and a world record for absolute distance flown by a UAV and this impressive capability piqued Australia’s interest in an unmanned aircraft able to conduct broad area maritime surveillance (BAMS). 
 
Global Hawk and Triton perform different jobs but look similar. They can easily be told apart – Global Hawk is operated by the U.S. Air Force and is painted all grey while Triton is flown by the U.S. Navy and is white on top and grey on lower surfaces. 
 
Avalon Airshow 2021
AVALON 2019 has also splendidly heralded the upcoming 2021 show, which is expected to break records again as a major platform for the celebration of the RAAF’s 100th anniversary.
 
Reference Text/Photo:
 

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