Some 200,000 people are expected to attend the Australian International Air Show, where about 600 companies from more than two dozen countries will show their wares between Feb. 24 and March 1, said Ian Honnery, CEO of Aerospace Maritime and Defense foundation of Australia (AMDA), which organizes the show. The event is the 12th in the biennial series at Avalon, which is south of Melbourne and close to the regional city of Geelong.
"There will also be about 100 government, military and scientific delegations and, very importantly, there will be 27 major conferences staged in conjunction with the event, covering the whole ambit of aviation aerospace and defense," Honnery said.
Australia's new defense minister, Kevin Andrews, is expected to attend.
Although there are few major Australian defense acquisition projects currently underway to attract the close attention of industry, there is significant interest in the Abbott government's Defense White Paper and Defense Capability Plan documents, which are to be released midyear.
As well, the winner of the ADF's new pilot training scheme is widely anticipated during the show.
Project Air 5428 is a $2.5 billion (US$1.96) project to acquire a new turboprop trainer to replace the existing Pilatus PC-9/A in service with the Royal Australian Air Force.
The two industry teams in the race will have a significant presence at the show: BAE Systems, CAE and Beechcraft, who are offering the T-6C Texan II; and Team 21, composed of Lockheed Martin and Pilatus, offering the PC-21.
Avalon 2015 will be supported by the Australian Defence Force and military aircraft from at least five other countries will be on display. Among them is the French Air Force, which is bringing over an Airbus Defense & Space A400M heavy airlifter to make its Australian debut.
Representing the Royal Australian Air Force and the wider ADF, Air Commodore David Pietsch spoke on a Feb. 20 kickoff event about the technological transformation of the air force. The force has the capability to deploy an organic Air Task Group, complete with airlift, tanker and airborne early warning support, for air strikes against ISIL in the Middle East.
"Airpower is inextricably linked to technological change and we have the best air force in this part of the world, bar none," Pietsch said.
Lily D'Ambrosio, Victorian Minister for Industry called the show the major trade event for Australia's aerospace and defence industry. It is a boon in particular to Victoria's defense industry, whose roughly 300 companies have an annual turnover of almost 1.5 billion dollars (US$1.18 billion) and employ around 6,000 people.
Avalon 2015 is expected to generate about $140 million (US$109.7 million) of economic benefit to the state of Victoria and about $22 (US$17.24) million to the immediate Geelong region.
"The internationally renowned industry components of the show is integral to promoting Victoria's status as the leading location for aviation, aerospace and defence businesses," D'Ambrosio said.
She also reaffirmed the plans to retain the Australian International Air Show at Avalon until at least 2025.