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Final F/A-18 Classic Hornet arrives for historic retirement

written by Robert Dougherty | May 30, 2023

Boeing Defence Australia has delivered the last of eight F/A-18 Classic Hornets prepared under a heritage project to display the retired aircraft at RAAF bases and aviation museums across Australia. (Image: Boeing)

The last of eight F/A-18 Classic Hornets has been delivered by Boeing Defence Australia after the aircraft was retired from nearly 40 years of operational service in December 2021.

The unveiling of Classic Hornet A21-101 at the RAAF Association Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia at Bull Creek on 12 April was the culmination of the two-year project by BDA’s Classic Hornet Sustainment Support (CHSS) team.

During delivery, each heritage Hornet jet had its military software information, hardware, and chemicals removed for safety and security reasons before dismantling. The wingless fuselage was then transported by semi-trailer and reassembled by a team of six technicians across approximately five weeks.

Heritage Hornets identified as significant heritage aircraft for the Australian War Memorial and the Air Force Collection include the A21-022, A21-023, A21-029, A21-032, A21-040 and A21-043, two-seat B models A21-101 and A21-103.

“Many on our team have worked in both the RAAF and at Boeing for years, if not decades, on supporting the Classic Hornets, which has fuelled their passion for this project,” said BDA’s CHSS program manager and RAAF veteran Gail Collie.

“The team has used their skills and expertise to return these remarkable jets to their former glory so they can be honoured for their decades of service to Australia and its allies. We all feel privileged to have been part of such an important program that is preserving them for posterity.”


The Australian Department of Defence has previously confirmed there is an ongoing sale of 46 former Royal Australian Air Force Hornets to RAVN Aerospace company (previously-Air USA) from March 2020.

There is also a retired fleet of F/A-18A/B Hornets jets reportedly left by the Australian government at US Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.

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