Joint Strike Fighter, a ‘Pilot’s Dream’, Goes on Show at Avalon
After years of criticism, some of it deserved and much of it extravagant, the RAAF’s advanced Joint Strike Fighter is set to appear in Australian skies today.
Flown by Australian pilots who swear by its effectiveness, two of the multi-role fighter bombers have made the long flight from the US to Victoria’s Avalon Air Show.
They were topped up along the way by a RAAF air-to-air refuelling tanker in an important logistical exercise of its own.
One of the two Australian pilots, Andrew Jackson, is one of Australia’s most experienced military aviators and is an RAAF instructor teaching pilots from a range of nations, including the US, to fly the JSF.
He said the JSF was vastly better than any fighter he’d flown. “This aircraft will give fighter pilots a level of situational awareness that far exceeds legacy platforms,” Squadron Leader Jackson said.
“Experiencing this level of capability first-hand is something every pilot dreams of.”
Just months ago, the jet’s noisiest critics told an Australian parliamentary inquiry it was a “jackass of all trades and masterful of none”.
Two members of the Air Power Australia group went on to tell the Senate committee the aircraft was “a broken and obsolete design, unsuitable for modern combat”. The reality, say Australian fighter pilots and senior members of the ADF with intimate knowledge of the JSF’s capability, is very different.