Last Classic Hornet completes service at RAAF Base Williamtown

written by Sandy Milne | July 10, 2020

The last F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets to undergo deeper maintenance servicing have rolled out of the Boeing Defence Australia facility at RAAF Base Williamtown.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said that 150 jobs in the Hunter region had been supported through the deep service works, which were facilitated by Boeing Defence Australia.


“This was the 163rd and final deeper maintenance servicing for the Air Force Classic Hornet fleet since 2013,” Minister Price said.

“These operations have generated an additional 140,000 flying hours for the Classic Hornets and also contributed $200 million to the Australian economy.”

Boeing became the lead contractor for Classic Hornet logistics, engineering and maintenance services in 2017, following the expansion of the company’s existing Classic Hornet Sustainment Support contract.

Deeper maintenance servicing on the fleet of 75 Classic Hornets will no longer be necessary, with the model scheduled for withdrawal from service in December 2021. The Classic Hornet – which will have seen 36 years of service by that point – is due to be replaced by the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.


The government has publicly offered the Hornets for sale once they are no longer needed by the RAAF, with a deal to sell 25 to Canada finalised back in early 2019.

To that end, Minister Price said that Boeing will continue to assist Defence to prepare retired Classic Hornet aircraft for “heritage display within Australia and potential sale to foreign customers”.

The continued efforts will provide a steady stream of jobs for the local Hunter region, “until there is a requirement for F-35A Lightning II sustainment, which will also be based at RAAF Base Williamtown”.

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  • SeeSure


    I thought the rest of the hornets were already sold to “Air USA”, has that deal fallen through? Does anyone know how many are going to stay in Australia for heritage display?

  • Craigy


    I remember when the first single seat aircraft flew from Avalon to Townsville to join the two two seaters and Mirages of a 2OCU deployment. It was the last mirage conversion course before transition started to hornets.

  • boleropilot


    It would be great if HARS could get their hands on one in operational status…

  • Mick C


    I believe 9 are staying in Australia for Museums and Gate Guards, 37 to go to Air USA, 18 for service in the RCAF and 7 to the RCAF for spare parts is the plan.

  • Dan


    8 have been allocated. AirUSA was given ITARS (?) approval for UPTO 46…

  • Dan


    No chance at all of a jet remaining operational; at HARS or Pt Cook or etc…

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