F-35As magnificently soar the skies for Territory Day in Darwin

Territory Day, 1 July, commemorates the day that the Australian Northern Territory was granted self-governance from the Australian Commonwealth Government in 1978. Territorians gather annually on this historic day to celebrate with huge fireworks displays, concerts and other public and private events.


This year, four Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II aircraft from No. 75 Squadron at the Tindal Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base conducted a flypast and handling display over Darwin’s scenic and highly popular Mindil Beach. The flypast was watched by crowds of tourists and locals from Mindil Beach and nearby Vesty’s and East Point beaches and by onlookers on boats and yachts anchored out in beautiful Fannie Bay just before sunset. Darwin’s iconic Mindil Beach Sunset Markets was also on this Territory Day allowing the public to sample delicious food and shop while being entertained by a music concert.

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Boats – Fannie Bay, Darwin on Territory Day © Varunika Ruwanpura

The roar of the four jets could be heard well before they appeared in perfect formation above the skies over Mindil Beach. After several minutes of arcing and soaring through the skies in elegant manouevres, three of the jets flew back to Tindal Airbase. The remaining jet then crisscrossed the sky for several more minutes spiralling, turning upside down and soaring and nosediving at high-speed drawing gasps of awe from the crowds.

F-35A jets

The F-35A Lightning II is the Australian Defence Force’s first fifth-generation air combat capability. As a highly advanced multi-role, supersonic, stealth fighter, it is specifically designed to meet Australia’s requirements to defeat any current and emerging threats.

The F-35A is at the forefront of air combat technology.  Advanced sensors and data fusion allow it to gather and share information faster than ever before. Capable of supersonic flight while retaining stealth, the F-35A has extraordinary acceleration, agility and 9G manoeuvrability. The F-35A also provides its pilots with significantly higher levels of lethality and survivability in combat.

The aircraft has a low observable design, internal weapons and fuel carriage, advanced radar, electro-optical and infrared sensors, advanced voice and data link communications and the ability to employ a wide range of air-to-surface and air-to-air weapons. Australia has committed to 72 F-35A aircraft for three operational squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown, RAAF Base Tindal and a training squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown.

The F-35A’s unique and amazing characteristics were certainly displayed this Territory Day. This is a formidable and magnificent flying machine. In the hands of a skilled pilot, it is also a stunningly elegant and beautiful jet to watch flying.

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Varunika Hapuwatte-Ruwanpura
Varunika Hapuwatte-Ruwanpura
Varunika Ruwanpura is a journalist, author and social sciences researcher. She has over 12 years' experience as a travel, lifestyle and arts journalist. https://www.amazon.com/Varunika-Ruwanpura/e/B00J16EUZA%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share https://researchers.cdu.edu.au/en/persons/varunika-sonani-hapuwatte-ruwanpura