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Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History

RAAF A44 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet

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Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet Image Gallery

 
 

On 3 May 2007, the Australian Government signed a contract to acquire 24 F/A-18Fs for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), at a cost of A$2.9 billion, as an interim replacement for the F-111s of 1 and 6 Squadrons under Project Air 5349 Phase 1 (Bridging Air Combat Capablity). The total cost with training and support over 10 years was announced as A$6 billion.

A review of the purchase was announced on 31 December 2007, by the incoming Labor Government, as part of a wider review of the RAAF's combat aircraft procurement plans and on 17 March 2008, the Government announced that it would proceed as planned to acquire all 24 F/A-18Fs.

The Block II package aircraft offered to the RAAF included installed engines and six spares, APG-79 AESA radars, Link 16 connectivity, LAU-127 guided missile launchers, AN/ALE-55 fiber optic towed decoys and other equipment.

In 2008 the Australian Government requested export approval from the US government to purchase up to six EA-18Gs, which would be part of the order for 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets.

On 27 February 2009, Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon announced that 12 of the 24 Super Hornets on order would be wired on the production line for future fit-out as EA-18Gs. The additional wiring would cost A$35 million. A final decision on the conversion to EA-18Gs, at a cost of A$300 million, was planned at that stage to be announced in March 2012.

Meanwhile, the first RAAF Super Hornet was completed in 2009 and first flew from Boeing's factory in St. Louis, Missouri on 21 July 2009. RAAF pilots and air combat officers began training in the USA in 2009, with No. 1 Squadron planned to become fully operational with the F/A-18F in 2010. The RAAF's first five Super Hornets arrived at RAAF Base Amberley on 26 March 2010. These initial aircraft were joined by six more aircraft on 7 July 2010. With the arrival of another four aircraft in December 2010, the first RAAF F/A-18F squadron was declared operational on 9 December 2010.

On 23 August 2012, the Australian Government announced that 12 RAAF Super Hornets would be fitted with Growler capability at a cost of $1.5 billion; making the Royal Australian Air Force the only military other than the U.S. to operate the Growler's electronic jamming equipment.

In December 2012, the Australian government sought information from the United States government about the cost of acquiring a further 24 F/A-18Fs. These aircraft were being considered as purchasing option to avoid a potential capability gap developing due to delays to the F-35 program. In February 2013, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia for up to 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and 12 EA-18G Growler aircraft with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. In May 2013, Australia announced they would keep the 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets they currently have instead of converting them, and will order 12 new-built EA-18G Growlers.

On 3 May 2013, the Australian Government announced that it will buy 12 new-build Growlers under Project Air 5349 Phase 3 - (Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability) for delivery by 2017 to supplement the existing Super Hornet fleet while remaining committed to the F-35 Lightning II acquisition.

An upgrade to the RAAF Super Hornet fleet's weapons and countermeasures is also under consideration as Project Air 5349 Phase 2 (Bridging Air Combat Capablity).

The Growler fleet was allocated the A46 rather than the A44 prefix to designate these airframes as new build Growlers as distinct from the Growler pre-wired airframes in the F/A-18F Super Hornet fleet and the first EA-18G aircraft are due for factory roll out in mid 2015.

 
     
 

See also A46 Boeing EA-18G Growler

 
     
 
Aircraft Serial Aricraft.Type. Const/No. USN.Serial Aircraft History
A44-201 F/A-18F Block II AF-1 Bu.167957 Centre/Aft Section of Australia's first Super Hornet completed and announced to the public on 02/04/2009.
This aircraft was rolled off the assembly line on 08/07/2009.
First flight 20/07/2009.
Remained in USA for software development until delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley on 07/12/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-201

A44-202 F/A-18F Block II AF-2 Bu.167958 Reported as under construction 02/04/2009.
Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 26/03/2010.
Named "City of Ipswich"

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-202

A44-203 F/A-18F Block II AF-3 Bu.167959 Reported as under construction 02/04/2009.
Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 26/03/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-203

A44-204 F/A-18F Block II AF-4 Bu.167960 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 26/03/2010.
Participant in Williamtown Airshow 09/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-204

A44-205 F/A-18F Block II AF-5 Bu.167961 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 26/03/2010.
Carried out trials of AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapon at Woomera Test Range, 09/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-205

A44-206 F/A-18F Block II AF-6 Bu.167962 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 26/03/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-206

A44-207 F/A-18F Block II AF-7 Bu.167963 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.
Participant in Williamtown Airshow 09/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-207

A44-208 F/A-18F Block II AF-8 Bu.167964 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.
Participant in Williamtown Airshow 09/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-208

A44-209 F/A-18F Block II AF-9 Bu.167965 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-209

A44-210 F/A-18F Block II AF-10 Bu.167966 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-210

A44-211 F/A-18F Block II AF-11 Bu.167967 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-211

A44-212 F/A-18F Block II AF-12 Bu.167968 Delivered to 1 Squadron RAAF Amberley 06/07/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-212

A44-213 F/A-18F Block II AF-13 Bu.167969 Delivered Amberley 07/12/2010.
First Super Hornet for 6 Squadron arrived 4 days after F-111s retired.
The final 12 Super Hornets have been factory wired to enable a simple upgrade to EA-18G Growler electronic warfare specification.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-213

A44-214 F/A-18F Block II AF-14 Bu.167970 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 07/12/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-214

A44-215 F/A-18F Block II AF-15 Bu.167971 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 07/12/2010.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-215

A44-216 F/A-18F Block II AF-16 Bu.167972 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 14/07/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-216

A44-217 F/A-18F Block II AF-18 Bu.167973 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 14/07/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-217

A44-218 F/A-18F Block II AF-18 Bu.167974 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 14/07/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-218

A44-219 F/A-18F Block II AF-19 Bu.167975 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 03/08/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-219

A44-220 F/A-18F Block II AF-20 Bu.167976 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 03/08/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-220

A44-221 F/A-18F Block II AF-21 Bu.167977 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 21/10/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-221

A44-222 F/A-18F Block II AF-22 Bu.167978 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 21/10/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-222

A44-223 F/A-18F Block II AF-23 Bu.167979 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 21/10/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-223

A44-224 F/A-18F Block II AF-24 Bu.167980 Delivered to 6 Squadron RAAF Amberley 21/10/2011.

Highlight for Album: Super Hornet A44-224

 
     
Super Hornet formation 21st October 2011 Photo by Mick Raftery
     

The authors of this page are Martin Edwards and Brendan Cowan

Source: Defence Media Centre, RAAF News, www.joebaugher.com , www.defence.gov.au , http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/australia39s-first-ea-18g-enters-production-400660/ , http://www.comint.org/ ,

Emails: Peter Bourke, Andrew McLaughlin,

Updated 30 September 2014

 

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