The RAAF’s first five of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets touched down at their home base of RAAF Amberley on March 26 following their trans Pacific ferry flight.
The five 1SQN jets, accompanied by an Omega Aerial Refueling Services KDC-10 tanker and followed by a RAAF C-17 airlifter, had departed Naval Air Station Lemoore in California on March 18, stopping off at Honolulu, Hawaii; Pago Pago, American Samoa; and Auckland, New Zealand; on their way to Australia. Flying into Amberley the F/A-18Fs were met by the aircraft they are replacing in RAAF service, F-111Cs from 6SQN, for a formation flight over southeast Queensland. They touched down at Amberley at just after 1.30pm.
“The Super Hornets’ arrival marks a new chapter for Air Force,” Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner said of the new fighters, dubbed ‘Rhinos’ by their crews.
“Australia’s 24 Super Hornets will be the bridging air combat capability during the transition to the Joint Strike Fighter force and will maintain our regional air superiority as our F-111s are withdrawn.”
“The men and women of Boeing are honoured to provide the next generation in air combat capability to the Royal Australian Air Force and proud to deliver it on time and on budget for all Australians,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “The arrival of these Super Hornets marks a new chapter in a partnership between Boeing and Australia that has endured for more than 80 years.”
“The on-schedule arrival of the new Australian Super Hornets marks the beginning of a new generation of air power for the RAAF,” said GPCAPT Steve Roberton, Officer Commanding the Super Hornet Wing. “The multirole Super Hornet is an advanced, networked weapons system that provides a major leap in capability for the RAAF.”
Australian Aviation’s May edition will feature extensive coverage on the Super Hornet’s entry into RAAF service.