The 2019 Australian International Airshow kicked off at Avalon on Tuesday with 699 exhibitors from 30 nations in attendance, according to chief executive Ian Honnery.
Avalon 2019 is the largest airshow in the southern hemisphere and one of the top five in the world. This year, organisers expect a record 347 aircraft to participate, combined with an additional 600 visiting aircraft. Highlights in the air include the first full display by an RAAF F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in Australia and the first visit by a Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) C-2 transport aircraft from the Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).
A wide range of ADF airpower is also on display in the air and on the ground, including RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, a P-8A Poseidon, C-27J Spartan, MH-60R Seahawk and Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters (ARH).
“Airpower will be felt everywhere,” Honnery said. “And when it comes to showcasing technology, there’s no show like the Airshow.”
On the opening trade day of the Avalon 2019, Australian SME Sypaq announced it had won seed funding to further develop its Corvo X Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) capability, under Land 129 Phase 4B. Corvo X was originally one of three platforms selected in April 2018 for a Phase 1 Concept Exploration through the Innovation Hub’s ‘Special Notice’ request for a man-portable SUAS.
Corvo X will be further developed ahead of a capability demonstration to Army in the first half of 2019.
“Through a Defence Innovation Hub Special Notice, we have had access to opportunities not typically available to SME businesses, including direct collaboration between innovators and end-users. This has allowed us to continue the development of Corvo X with confidence that we understand the capability needs of Army, both now and into the future,” Sypaq CEO Amanda Holt said.
“Army has been a fantastic partner throughout this process, and the result is a system that pushes the boundaries from a technology and soldier integration perspective.”
On the second day of Avalon 2019, Boeing unveiled its Airpower Teaming System unmanned aircraft (known as Loyal Wingman), which has been designed in Australia in partnership with the RAAF.
Three prototypes of the ‘Loyal Wingman’ will be constructed in Australia under Defence Project 6014 Phase 1 (Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program), representing the largest ever Boeing investment in an unmanned system outside the US.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne said that the government would contribute $40 million to the development programme, which is expected to realise significant export opportunities among the ‘Five Eyes’ nations.
“This is the first (military) aircraft concept that Australia has invested in since the Boomerang in 1942 to 1945, so it is a red-letter day,” Minister Pyne said.
A full report from Avalon 2019 will appear in the April issue of ADM.