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US F-16 joins Pacific Airshow line-up on the Gold Coast

written by Liam Garman | July 6, 2023

The US Air Force F-16 demonstration team have been added to the roster of performers appearing at the Gold Coast Pacific Airshow to be held at Surfers Paradise in August.

On Friday, organisers released an updated itinerary that includes the RAAF Super Hornet, Hercules and Globemaster alongside a big presence from the US military.

The event is being created by the team behind the Pacific Airshow at Huntington Beach, California, which attracts three million visitors.

The F-16 – which didn’t fly at Avalon this year – first flew in December 1976 as the single-seat A model and was delivered to the US in 1979.


It’s unique because it was built under an agreement between the United States and four NATO countries: Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Event founder Kevin Elliot said the first-year event will set itself apart from other Australian airshows because it will be “high tempo”, with flight displays occurring less than 60 seconds apart.

The event organisers hope that the airshow, which features air power assets from both the RAAF and the US Air Force, will deepen the bonds between the two partner nations while stimulating interest among attendees to consider a career in the Australian Defence Force.

“We are bringing this event to Australia at the ideal time to support the ADF’s current recruiting efforts,” said Elliott.

“Furthermore, a successful inaugural Pacific Airshow will only strengthen the attraction to like-minded partner forces from the region and around the world.

“Our team has committed to making Pacific Airshow the largest annual event on the Gold Coast, providing a highly visible platform for demonstrating the strength of alliances, partnerships, and hosting foreign dignitaries.”

The RAAF F/A 18F Super Hornet, RAAF C-17A Globemaster III, and the RAAF C130 Hercules will be on display at the airshow.

The event is also scheduled to feature a display of the Air Force Roulettes, the Royal Australian Air Force’s aerobatic display team specialising in maneuvered flying at low altitudes.

Of those capabilities from the United States Air Force, attendees will have the opportunity to view the KC-135R Stratotanker Demo Team, US Marine Coprs MV-22B Osprey Demo, C-17A Globemaster III, and C-5M Super Galaxy.

The United States is also scheduled to deploy the US Navy Leap Frog Parachute Demonstration Team.

The Leap Frogs form part of the United States Naval Special Warfare Command, and according to the US Navy is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen and auxiliary personnel.

Launched in 2016, the original Pacific Airshow in California in 2021 included aerial displays by the US Navy Blue Angels, US Air Force Thunderbirds, Royal Air Force Red Arrows, and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

Major Events Gold Coast CEO Jan McCormick said previously the event would be a “game changer” for the city.

“I’ve no doubt that now the 2023 dates are announced, the media and marketing exposure across Australia is sure to result in strong accommodation bookings giving our tourism sector a welcome boost through the traditionally quieter August period. Importantly, hosting this spectacular airshow well and truly cements our city’s reputation as a world-class events destination,” said McCormick.

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