The milestone represents more than 500,000 hours of work on the jet by Boeing at RAAF Base Williamtown since taking over the deeper maintenance contract from BAE Systems and L3 MAS Canada in 2013.
“The incredible daily serviceability rates we’ve seen over the past couple of years have not been by accident. Without the coordinated and integrated efforts of Air Force, Boeing and other support agencies we would be unable to sustain such a high tempo on operations in the Middle East, and in vital training in Australia,” a spokesperson for 81 Wing said in a statement.
Boeing Defence Australia integrated services and support general manager Murray Brabrook said about 10 aircraft are in maintenance at any one time.
“Boeing conducted 59 classic Hornet test flights in 2016 alone, with the team at Williamtown working diligently to ensure we provide the RAAF with a quality product on time and within budget,” Brabrook said.
The milestone comes at a busy time for the classic Hornet fleet, with six aircraft based in the Middle East since March 2015 flying combat missions over Iraq and more latterly Syria as part of Operation Okra, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to international efforts to defeat Islamic State.
The RAAF’s 71 classic Hornets (55 single-seat F/A-18As and 16 dual-seat F/A-18Bs) are due to be replaced by the F-35 Lightning II from late this decade.