Biggest-ever Avalon Air Show draws a dozen key US officials
Photo: F-35 Lightning II aircraft from RAAF Base Williamtown fly off the coast. (Australian Air Force)
By Colin Clark
The United States is sending a delegation focused on the Indo-Pacific region, including top people from the Navy and Marines, as well as officials with a broader ambit such as the head of DSCA and the F-35 Joint Program Office.
The Avalon Show, which kicks off today, is already slated to be “the largest AVALON ever, with exhibition space sold out for the first time in the biennial event’s 30-year history,” organizers from the foundation that runs the show say. And it appears the US has noticed, with a dozen key officials slated to appear at the conference.
The runways and chalets will be packed with 798 exhibiting companies, which the AMDA Foundation says will be a 14 percent increase over the 2019 show, and will boast nearly 50 percent more industry, government, defence and scientific delegations, with 234 scheduled to attend.
There are expected to be 22 service chiefs, 14 representatives, three space commanders and six national armament directors from more than 40 countries, the foundation says.
The United States, Australia’s most important ally and supplier of much of its material, is not sending the most senior officials who often attend the Farnborough or Paris air shows, such as the secretary of the Air Force and the head of Air Force acquisition. Instead, the delegation is a mix of US officials who deal with Indo-Pacific issues, as well as the head of the F-35 program, the director of the Défense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA, which manages arms sales for the Pentagon) and the Marines’ deputy commandant for aviation.