BUDGET 2017 – F-35 flying hours increase

We don’t actually have any F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft based in Australia yet and won’t until the end of next year.

But already our two aircraft in the US, part of the international training unit, are accruing substantial flying hours, 500 in 2016-17 and 752 scheduled for 2017-18, the Budget Papers for 2017-18 show.

As more F-35s enter service, flying hours ramp up to more than 8,000 in 2020-21. As F-35 hours rise, F/A-18 classic Hornet hours reduce, from 16,700 in 2016-17 to under 5,000 in 2020-21.

Also soaring are flying hours for the new PC-21 basic trainer which enters service next year. These aircraft will fly an estimated 23,652 hours in 2020-21, reflecting the RAAF’s increased flying training commitments.

The tables below outlines planned flying hours for Air Force, Army and Navy aircraft across the next four financial years.


  1. Samual says

    Looking at those numbers you would have to say that the PC-21 will be getting a flogging. I suspect that the PC-21 will be taking over a lot of the roles of the fast trainer.

  2. G4george says

    Interesting to see the Globemaster losing 800 hrs from 17/18 onwards, who will be picking up the slack, not the Hercs, but I see the Spartan will be doing a lot of the lifting.

  3. James says

    There should be a different rate of hours for the RAN flown MRH-90s, different environments, deployments etc.
    Where’s the EC-135 hours for the RAN/Army that’s replacing the Squirrel and Kiowa?
    It is a concern for the future of the Super Hornets with a small (albeit constant) lot of hours over the next several years. It seems that these will once again become the ‘fill in’ aircraft.
    The LADs aircraft is not a defence asset but on contract (why not list all other contracted aircraft?). Is there a replacement for the LADs Dash 8?

  4. Jasonp says

    Even more interesting is the drop in KC-30 flying hours by more than a third with two additional jets coming. Must mean it’s being withdrawn from Iraq.

  5. Mick181 says

    Don’t forget guys these are only planned hours, doesn’t include things like HADR flights at short notice, so the tpts especially will vary a fair bit from those hours.
    The Airbus 135 helos don’t actually beling to any one service and come under the HATS trg so they may not have a set number of hours.
    James i think you missread the Classic Hornet hours for the Supers, I’ve actually got them going up by 50 hours.
    The MRH-90s are actually regarded as one fleet of 47 Aircraft, just split to the units which operate them.

  6. Gary says


    You are looking at a fleet of only 24 aircraft compared to a fleet of 71 albeit reducing. The Supers were never to be used as a fill for the Classic on their winddown to the JSF. All in all 4050 hours for a fleet on 24 aircraft fits well I believe.

  7. says

    Well you would hope its flying hours will increase,until its grounded again due to software problems.

  8. Raymond says

    Paul, Paul, ever the F-35 pessimist and doubting Thomas…

    Enjoy your ‘moment of fame’ while it lasts; for all too soon the F-35 naysayers crowd will be clutching at straws and grasping for fresh blood and new criticism to support their bias and flawed arguments (it’s already begun – your lot just can’t quite see it yet).

  9. says

    Raymond,I really hope that the 35 is all that it’s promised to be.I am not an F-35 hater,please understand that.I read the good and the bad then read between the lines.I like to study things in great detail.So I’m very sorry I don’t agree with u on things.Take a step back and do the same.

  10. says

    Raymond,exactly right there mate.Like I said let’s hope it is as good as they say.If so I will be very proud of the RAAF being a true 5 th gen fighting force.

  11. Raymond says

    The RAAF will be a first class, 5th gen force for sure – and one of the first, too.

  12. says

    That I agree with u Raymond,but let’s hope the billions upon billions upon billions have been spent wisely on the 35 program.

  13. Raymond says

    It has / will be. In fact, the whole 5th gen RAAF is built upon the F-35. To put it another way, the F-35 is inherent to 5th gen RAAF warfighting doctrine.