One of the world’s biggest aircraft, the Antonov An-124, has arrived at RAAF Base Williamtown, bringing with it the first delivery of Australia’s state-of-the-art training equipment in support of the Joint Strike Fighter.
According to Senator Marise Payne, Australia’s Minister for Defence, the Antonov An-124 touched down following a two day flight from the United Kingdom. On board, Joint Strike Fighter training kit to outfit the Australian F-35A Integrated Training Centre. Once operational, this will be a purpose built F-35A training facility with simulation bays, classrooms and a seven-aircraft hangar.
The delivery included an Ejection Systems Maintenance Trainer – a reproduction of the F-35A aircraft escape systems – and a Weapons Load Trainer, which replicates the F-35A fuselage, including weapons bay and wing hard points.
“The equipment will provide Australia with its own F-35 pilot and maintainer training capability and will form part of the overall Australian F-35A Training System,” said Minister Payne. “Importantly this equipment will enable our pilots and crews to train without having to remove aircraft from flight schedules.
“This is an important milestone with two of Australia’s F-35A aircraft to be based at RAAF Base Williamtown from December 2018 and pilot training expected to commence at Williamtown from mid next year.”
Minister Payne later confirmed that future deliveries to Williamtown’s No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit would include six Full Mission Simulators required for F-35A pilot training. “The first two of these six simulators will be delivered later this year,” she added.
The Antonov departed from Yorkshire, with stop overs at Gujarat, India and Senai, Malaysia before making its Williamtown arrival. RAAF Base Williamtown last hosted an Antonov An-124 – the ‘baby’ of the Antonov heavy lift fleet – a decade ago.
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