News Corp Australia’s group correspondent Charles Miranda and senior photographer Nathan Edwards have been awarded defence story of the year at this year’s prestigious Australasian Aviation Press Club Awards.
After months of negotiations, the pair gained exclusive access to the United States’ high security Luke Airbase in the Arizona desert to produce an in-depth multimedia series on Australia’s incoming F-35 Lightning II fighter acquisition.
Critics of the much-maligned next generation Lockheed Martin aircraft — that the Australian government has ordered 72 at 20 million a piece — have laboured over its development teething problems and potential warfare limitations.
But News Corp embedded with both USAF and RAAF personnel who were now flying, maintaining, developing, arming and instructing on the aircraft for a very different view.
The project was part of a broader defence series that included reporting from a Coalition army outpost west of Kabul in Afghanistan.
The award, sponsored by Boeing, was announced at the aviation industry’s premier awards night held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney this week.