Air Force One isn’t set to arrive in Australia until Wednesday, but the Obama entourage is already on the ground.
US military cargo jets have been seen arriving in Canberra in recent days, with a C-17 Globemaster touching down on Saturday and again on Monday, and a C-5 Galaxy arriving on Sunday. Among other things, the transports are widely believed to be carrying the American president’s heavily armoured Cadillac limousine, a vehicle variously known as the ‘Obamamobile’ and ‘The Beast’ that can reportedly repel anything from small arms fire to chemical weapons. Obama is also expected to bring his own helicopter.
The Obama visit will come amid predictably strict security measures, with the public to be barred from Parliament House on Thursday morning, when Obama is expected to give a speech, as well as the day before. Access to the Australian War Memorial is also to be restricted when Obama visits on Thursday.
As many as a dozen RAAF F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets have been mobilised to support the security effort and have begun familiarisation flights, the RAAF said.
Obama will also stop in Darwin on Thursday before leaving to continue a swing across Asia.