07 Juli 2010
RAAF's Super Hornet (photo : Australian DoD)
Another six F/A-18F Super Hornets – Australia's first new air combat aircraft in 25 years – have arrived at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland.
Today's touch down followed a four-day journey from Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
The Super Hornets, affectionately known as 'Rhinos', will replace the F-111s which have been stalwarts of Australia's air combat fleet and will be retired at the end of this year.
While the new fighters share a strong resemblance with Air Force's existing F/A-18A/B 'classic' Hornets, they feature stealth characteristics, an enlarged airframe, more powerful engines, greater weapons and fuel payload, advanced avionics and state-of-the-art radar.
Twelve of the RAAF Super Hornets have now been delivered by Boeing. The first Super Hornet delivered, A44-201, remains in the United States conducting ongoing advanced software development trials with the United States Navy. It is anticipated that this will be completed later this year and the aircraft will be ferried to Australia before December to bring our in-service complement to twelve aircraft.
"The Super Hornet acquisition project continues to be a major success. It is delivering a quantum leap in air combat capability to Air Force, on-time and on-budget," Minister for Defence John Faulkner said."This project is a great example of what can be achieved through a strong Defence and Industry partnership."
"This is the culmination of the hard work and dedication of the Royal Australian Air Force, Defence Materiel Organisation, United States Navy, the Boeing Company and their industry partners, Raytheon, General Electric and Northrop Grumman," Senator Faulkner said.
"No. 1 Squadron's transition from operating the venerable F-111 to the highly sophisticated Super Hornet has delivered a new and potent air combat capability that will serve Australia for many years to come.
"When delivery is completed in 2011, Australia will have a total of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets ahead of the transition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.