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RAAF receives four new Super Hornets from Boeing


F/A-18F Super Hornets. Photo: Australian Department of Defence.

AMBERLEY, QUEENSLAND (BNS): Boeing delivered four new F/A-18F Super Hornets to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley in December, expanding the RAAF's fleet of the advanced multirole fighters to 15.

The delivery enabled the RAAF's achievement of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) with its first Super Hornet squadron, the Amberley-based No. 1, according to a news release by Boeing.

""Early delivery of our new Super Hornets at Amberley has been a vital part of our path toward IOC for our first Super Hornet squadron, which we have now achieved ahead of schedule, said RAAF Group Capt. Steve Roberton, Officer Commanding 82 Wing, which operates the Super Hornet.

Boeing has delivered all 15 Super Hornets to Australia ahead of schedule.

"The Boeing Super Hornet team has surpassed expectations by delivering 15 aircraft to the RAAF in 2010 instead of the 12 originally scheduled," said Carolyn Nichols, Australian Super Hornet program manager for Boeing.

The December arrival was the third Super Hornet delivery to the base during 2010. Three aircraft in the latest delivery were prewired for potential conversion to electronic attack capability during production at Boeing facilities in St. Louis; the remaining nine aircraft in the contract will be prewired in the same way before delivery to the RAAF's No. 6 Squadron, the release added.

The Australian government announced in March 2007 that it would acquire 24 of the advanced Block II versions of the Super Hornet, all of which are equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.

The Boeing Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.

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