The RAAF’s No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) has unveiled a special paint scheme on one of its F/A-18Bs to commemorate its final year of classic Hornet operations.
The aircraft, A21-116, was rolled out on January 8 at RAAF Amberley where it was painted. The design features 2OCU’s distinctive black on orange tiger stripes on the aircraft’s upper forward fuselage, spine and on the inside of the vertical fins, and a 2OCU tiger head on black background on the outside of the fins.
2OCU was the RAAF’s first F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornet unit, taking delivery of its first aircraft, A21-101, at the US Navy’s NAS Lemoore in California in 1984. That aircraft and A21-102 were delivered to Australia in April 1985 after completing a non-stop 14-hour ferry flight from Lemoore to RAAF Williamtown, a flight that to this day is still the longest non-stop Hornet flight.
Ever seen a tiger fly? To celebrate 2OCU's final year of Classic Hornet operations, we've given their jet some stripes. ?? Catch the distinctive paintwork over the #NSW coast on Wed 9 Jan. Flypast details at: https://t.co/kMPi8I7z7b #AusAirForce #AirCombat #AvGeek #PlaneSpotter pic.twitter.com/VV5nLKfBWt
— Royal Australian Air Force (@AusAirForce) January 8, 2019
The unit is expected to relinquish its F/A-18s in December at the completion of the RAAF’s final classic Hornet operational conversion course (OPCON), after which it will be re-established at Luke AFB in Arizona to take delivery of its first F-35A Lightning IIs.
2OCU is the scheduled to return to Williamtown with its F-35As in late 2020, in time for the RAAF to declare an initial operational capability (IOC) with the new aircraft.