RAAF's F/A-18F Super Hornet (photo : Boeing)
ST. LOUIS -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that it has completed production of the first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet that has the capability to be converted into an electronic attack aircraft.Boeing is pre-wiring the RAAF's second lot of 12 Super Hornets for potential electronic attack capability conversion during production at the company's facilities in St. Louis. "Incorporating the ability to introduce an electronic attack capability on 12 RAAF Super Hornets as they are produced in St. Louis provides maximum flexibility for our Air Force in the future," said RAAF Group Capt. Steve Roberton, Officer Commanding 82 Wing, which includes Super Hornet and F-111 aircraft. "Ultimately, if a decision to incorporate an electronic attack option is pursued, it will further expand the broad capability of an already formidable Super Hornet weapon system."
The Australian government announced in March 2007 that it would acquire 24 of the advanced Block II versions of the Super Hornet, all of which are equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. Eleven Super Hornets are now operating at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland. All 11 aircraft were delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. Boeing will deliver Australia's 24th Super Hornet in 2011.
"Besides giving the RAAF the potential of introducing electronic attack capability in the future, producing these 12 aircraft with this configuration from the outset also reduces cost when compared with retrofitting at a later date," said Carolyn Nichols, Australian Super Hornet program manager for Boeing.
The Boeing Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Boeing has delivered more than 430 F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy. Every Super Hornet produced has been delivered on or ahead of schedule and on budget.