As one of the world's largest and comprehensive aeronautical exhibitions, this year's Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport is tipped to be spectacular – featuring the unveiling of the most advanced military aircraft ever built – the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II.

Flying directly from the United States – where the aircraft have been used to train Australian pilots – the preview of Australia's first F-35A Joint Strike Fighters will provide the Australian public with a rare glimpse into the future of aviation while showcasing Victoria's world-class expertise in aviation, manufacturing, aerospace and defence.

Debuting 12 months after the Australian Government's 2016 Defence White Paper, and forming part of the A$17 billion project with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft will be displayed alongside Australia's first Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack jet.

In November 2016, Victoria managed to secure 70 per cent of all Australian contracts for the maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade for the componentry of the F-35A aircraft in the Asia Pacific region – making a significant contribution to the state's economy and ensuring Victoria remains competitive in the global aerospace marketplace well into the future.

Victoria also succeeded in winning a A$1.2 billion contract with US company Lockheed Martin to provide a basic pilot training system at the state's RAAF base in East Sale.

Equipped with ground-breaking technology, the F-35A aircraft's sleek, low profile design makes it virtually invisible to radar at any speed, while the EA-18G Growler's capabilities of providing highly sophisticated electronic warfare support will complement the F-35A aircraft capacity.

The F-35A aircraft will take centre-stage at the event when the gates open on Friday 3 March before returning to the United States via RAAF Base Amberley on Sunday 5 March – where the Australian pilots will continue their training.

The 2017 Australian International Airshow  – taking place at Geelong's Avalon Airport is a major and significant aviation event for Australia, Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. With 346 aircraft from 11 countries on display, the Airshow has attracted over 35,000 trade delegates from across the globe - providing key trade opportunities for Victorian businesses in the defence and technology industry sectors.

Geoff Harland – Air Commodore with the RAAF said "it's really heartening to see great interest in what we do as an air force and what we do as an Australian defence force".

Representing the very best of commercial, civil and military aviation, this year's Airshow is expected to attract over 200,000 visitors through the gate.

Find out more about Victoria's trade opportunities in defence.