Defence Minister Stephen Smith has announced the consolidation of RAAF F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet refurbishment projects into a new combined program with a cost capped $250-300 million budget.
“This combined program is estimated to result in savings of more than $500 million over the previously planned approach, but deliver the same enhanced capability result,” the Minister said on December 17. “It will also increase the operational availability of the overall fleet of classic Hornets.”
The consolidated program “will help to ensure that the Hornets continue as a key element of the ADF’s air combat capability through to the end of this decade when they will be replaced by the Joint Strike Fighter.”
The Minister also announced first pass approval of Air 5431 Phase 1 to acquire deployable air traffic management and control systems. Air 5431 Phase 1 is cost capped between $100-150 million, with final approval due in the period 2012-13 to 2014-15.