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US approves new RAAF Super Hornet and Growler sustainment package

written by australianaviation.com.au | April 30, 2015

Operation OKRAThe US Department of State has approved the possible provision of sustainment and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

The federal government requested the potential sale, for which the principal contractor would be Boeing, of follow-on sustainment support and services for the RAAF’s 24 Super Hornets and 12 future Growlers. The deal is valued at an estimated US$1.5 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated.

The sustainment effort will include: software and hardware updates, engineering change proposals, system configuration upgrades, system integration and testing, engine component improvement, tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, aircrew trainer device upgrades, US government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

Comments (3)

  • Dave


    Is this figure included in the 6 billion the first 24 super hornets were originally quoted as costing? Seems like a lot.

  • John N



    The figure of $6B (actually I believe it was $6.1B) for the acquisition of the 24 F/A-18F’s is often misquoted and totally misunderstood.

    When the ‘then’ Def Min, Brendan Nelson, announced the early retirement of the F-111’s and the acquisition of the 24 Super Hornets, the announced figure of $6.1B was for the total, repeat, total cost of acquisition and ownership, right down to the last nut and bolt, for a period of 10 years. Basically that works out to be $600m per year to purchase, own and operate the Super Hornet fleet, but you also have to remember that not all of that money is ‘new money’ either, there were also substantial savings by retiring the F-111c’s in 2010 and not having to maintain them till 2020 as originally planned, the many $100’s of millions that would have been spend on maintaining, sustaining and operating the F-111 fleet every one of those 10 years would have been transferred from one ‘bucket’ in the Defence budget to another ‘bucket’.

    As to the point of this article, the Government seeking a new sustainment package, well there is a pretty obvious answer to that, the Super Hornet fleet is now going to operate for around 20 years (double the original period) and there is also the addition of the 12 Growlers as well (a 50% increase in the fleet size of the basic Super Hornet airframes to be maintained). Obviously until there is some further announcement from the Government we will not know for what ‘period’ of time this sustainment package is covering (for example, it could be to cover the 12 additional Growler airframes that will start to be delivered in a couple of years and also extending the Super Hornet sustainment past 2020.

    Anyway, no doubt we will see some sort of announcement in due course.


    John N

  • Air Observer


    Can’t wait to see the Growler bedded in. It’s a game changer. A true force multiplier.

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