Boeing expands RAAF classic Hornet maintenance role

A RAAF F/A-18B Hornet. (Defence)

Boeing Defence Australia will look after RAAF F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet logistics, engineering and maintenance services following the expansion of the company’s existing Classic Hornet Sustainment Support contract.

The expanded scope of the $145 million contract sees Boeing Defence Australia become the classic Hornet’s ‘weapon system integrator’ through until the jet’s withdrawal from service in 2021.

“This new operating model is a testament to the integrated and trusted partnership between Boeing and the Commonwealth, as platform stewards, to provide vital support services to the Australian Classic Hornet fleet,” Boeing Defence Australia vice president and managing director Darren Edwards said in a statement on Friday.

Boeing has provided deeper maintenance on the RAAF’s 71 strong classic Hornet fleet (55 single-seat F/A-18As and 16 dual-seat F/A-18Bs) since 2013, and completed its 100th deeper maintenance activity for the jet earlier this year.

The aircraft is due be replaced by 72 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from later this decade.

Comments

  1. PAUL says

    71 still going strong no further losses, shows what a robust & reliable aircraft it is, the Mirage wasn’t so lucky especially with a single engine, will be interesting with the F35, hopefully its engine even more reliable than the GE – F404/F414? Does anyone know what the ADF is planning to do with the legacy Airframes come 2021? AMARC?
    Most legacy Hornet operators are looking to the Super or other newer types. There are also newer alternatives for current Mirage 3 & F4 operators than 30yr old F18’s, although well looked after & very capable after HUG programs etc….

  2. John N says

    PAUL,

    What will happen with the RAAF’s Classic Hornets?

    All depends on the US Governments ITAR and FMS restrictions at time of purchase. On-selling to a (friendly) third party is not just as simple as Australian and that third party doing a deal, all comes down to ITAR and what the US will or won’t allow to happen.

    If a third party nation did want to purchase the airframes, and spares, then there will be a lot of negotiations involving the US to allow such a transfer. Possibly they could be broken down to spare parts (again US approval needed) and sold in that way.

    As an example, I understand that the RAN’s retiring S-70B-2’s (Seahawk), are being broken down into components for possible resale of the parts (one or more airframes will become museum pieces).

    Realistically, I would imagine that what will happen with the Classic Hornets will be the same as the F-111C’s (and what is starting to happen with the AP-3C’s too), some will be kept for gate guards and aviation museums, the rest will probably just be cut up and scrapped.

    Unfortunately just a fact of life!!

    On the question of two vs one engine, engine technology, and reliability, has moved way beyond the single engines used in the Mirage, if we look at the ‘commercial’ world, these days two engine commercial aircraft fly distances (over water), where only a four engine aircraft would be allowed to do in the past.

    In fact when a two engine fighter aircraft goes down, it is often the fact that the failed engine also causes the other engine to fail too.

    Anyway, I’m sure the Classic fleet will continue to provide top line service until their time comes to hand over the baton to the F-35A fleet.

    Cheers,

    John N

  3. PAUL says

    Well an F18 gate guard or two at the very least would be great for Ohakea & Whenuapai 🙂 or 1 for the Wigram Airforce museum to sit next to its old ANZAC rival the updated A4

  4. Raymond says

    PAUL, why would NZ want F/A-18 gate guards when the type hasn’t served in the NZDF? (Well, not yet anyway…)