RAAF Hornets to Air USA


Graduating members of the F/A-18 Hornet Operational Conversion Course return to Port Stephens in a twelve ship formation after Exercise High Sierra in 2010. Lt Todd Woodford, RAAF

The Australian government has announced it will sell up to 46 of its Boeing F/A-18A and B Hornets to air combat training company Air USA. Based in Quincy, Illinois, the firm currently has a mixed fleet of ex-Korean BAe Hawk Mk 67s, Aero Vodochody L-39s and Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, plus a pair of MiG-29UBs that are not currently airworthy.

From an original fleet of 75 ‘Classic’ Hornets, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has lost four in service and has so far delivered three of a planned 25 it is selling to Canada. This leaves 46 airframes, although it is expected that one will go the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and a handful to other museums in Australia.

Workers at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW will service and prepare the aircraft over the next three or four years, according to a statement by the Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price. “The work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale will provide 24 direct industry jobs while Air Force transitions from the Classic Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter” said Price.

Australia’s Classic Hornet fleet is being progressively retired as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is introduced into service. The RAAF has now taken delivery of 20 Lightning IIs, out of a total order of 72.

A Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet taking off from Woomera Test Facility with a Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range visible under right wing. CPL Pete Gammie, RAAF

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