Black Eagles coming to Avalon Airshow 2023.
Article: Jaryd Stock
Images: Peter Van Den Berg
In a first for Australia, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) confirmed last year in early December that the ROKAF Black Eagles Aerobatic Team, one of the world’s most highly regarded military jet display teams, will perform at the Australian International Airshow (AVALON 2023).
The eight-aircraft Black Eagles team has wowed audiences at recent airshows across Asia, Europe and the United Kingdom, winning both the prestigious King Hussein Memorial Sword and the FRIAT “As the Crow Flies” display awards at last year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT 2022) in England.
Under the command of Colonel Seo Yeong-jun from the ROKAF’s 53rd Air Demonstration Group the team will deploy to Australia from their home base at Wonju Air Base, Korea making it the first time either the team or its supersonic Korea Aerospace Industries KAI T-50B Golden Eagle jet aircraft have ever displayed in Australia.
The team’s eight distinctive black, white and yellow aircraft are modified versions of the Korea Aircraft Industries T-50 supersonic light trainer and attack aircraft already in service with the ROKAF, with the addition of a highly visible display livery, onboard camera system and display smoke generating equipment.
Their signature move is the “Taegeuk”, in which the team creates the Republic of Korea flag with display smoke.
Through its precision formation aerobatics, the team demonstrates the skill and professionalism of the Republic of Korea Air Force and the equipment it operates, providing a window to the public and promoting ROKAF recruitment. It maintains an air display tradition which began in 1953, with a four-aircraft display team flying F-51 Mustang aircraft.
Justin Giddings, CEO of AVALON 2023 organiser AMDA Foundation, said the Black Eagles are an exciting addition to the program, with announcements of more new first-time participants and aircraft to follow in the coming weeks.
“The AVALON 2023 team is honoured and excited that the first Black Eagles display ever seen in Australia will be at our event,” he said. “This team is well known internationally for its professional display performance and distinctive aircraft that have not been seen in Australia before. The Black Eagles will add a new level of interest and spectacle for aviation enthusiasts at AVALON 2023.
“AIRSHOW 2023 is all about presenting new and exciting displays and aircraft across the spectrum of aviation, from Australia and around the world,” he said. “There will be more announcements in the coming weeks about new aircraft, displays and teams, some of which will be performing in Australia for the first time at AVALON 2023.”
The Republic of Korea Air Force visited Australia to train as part of Exercise Pitch Black in 2022, and Group Captain David Glasson, the Royal Australian Air Force’s Director of Displays for the Airshow is excited to see them return.
“It’s fantastic to see the Republic of Korea Air Force visiting the Airshow for the first time, and we’re excited to see what we know will be a very professional display from their Black Eagles team” he said.
A forward element from the 53rd Air Demonstration team arrived in Geelong during early January to plan their trip to Australia and held meetings with the organisers of the event.
The T-50 is suggested to be considered by RAAF as a option to replace the Hawk Mk.127 lead in fighter trainer sometime in the 2030’s as the type was introduced back in 2001 to train pilots for combat aircraft such as the F/A-18A/B Hornet F-35 Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft. The RAAF operates 33 Hawks at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW and RAAF Base Pearce, WA.
Tickets to the Australian International Airshow 2023 public days can be purchased online here at: www.airshow.com.au