The RAAF’s first squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets, or Rhinos, has been declared operational after successfully completing its airworthiness boards late last month.
The Amberley based 1SQN, led by WGCDR Glen Braz, achieved the IOC milestone at a ceremony at Amberley on December 8, and is now combat ready if required for operations.
Parent unit 82WG now has 15 Super Hornets on strength following the delivery of four more aircraft which arrived for the ceremony. The latest aircraft were delivered by US Navy pilots and flew across the Pacific from the Boeing factory in St Louis via Travis AFB in California, Hickam AFB in Hawaii, and Andersen AFB on Guam, with tanker support from the USAF.
In the lead up to and following the retirement of the F-111 on December 3, 6SQN crews and maintainers have been deploying to NAS Lemoore in California to commence their conversion to the Rhino, and 6SQN expects to achieve its IOC by the end of 2011. Full operational capability of all aircraft, facilities and support systems is expected in late 2012.