The Royal Australian Air Force’s F/A-18F Super Hornet has completed its first major upgrade, with the work finished on budget and two weeks ahead of schedule by the Electronic Attack Enterprise team that consists of the RAAF, the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), Boeing Defence Australia and Raytheon Australia.
This work represents the first stage of the Super Hornet spiral upgrade program under which the fleet of 24 aircraft is set to receive incremental capability upgrades, the RAAF said in a statement, in parallel with the US Navy’s upgrade program.
The 12-month ‘Increment 1’ program has delivered updates to the aircraft training system, as well as to software and hardware. This includes the installation of GPS navigation protection, a distributed targeting system to enable precision targeting and an upgraded solid state recorder for the cockpit.
Five separate structural modifications to improve fatigue life and eliminate hazards were incorporated with the hardware upgrades.
Group Captain Jason Agius, OC Air Combat and Electronic Attack System Program Office, said the program demonstrates that the support capability is mature and integrated.
“The completion of Increment 1 was essentially a coming of age for the Super Hornet support system,” he said. “It was the first time we brought together every element of the support system from program management, logistics and engineering through to training and deeper maintenance. The project’s completion on budget and ahead of schedule is a testament to how well it worked.
“As prime contractor, Boeing Defence Australia exhibited ingenuity and innovation in foreseeing and addressing challenges. They used their knowledge to add value and insight at every stage, and worked in close partnership with both Air Force and training system services provider Raytheon to guarantee the program’s success.”
Final operational capability for the RAAF’s Super Hornet fleet was announced in December 2012.