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Super Hornets are here
26 March 2010

Australia's first F/A-18F Super Hornets depart on the first leg of the ferry from the United States to their new home at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley.
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Air Force today welcomed home the first five of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets.

The aircraft touched down at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland at 1:34pm local time, following a formation flight over Southeast Queensland with some of the F-111s they will replace.

Defence leaders along with local Government, United States Navy and Boeing dignitaries were on-hand for the welcome ceremony.

Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner said, “The Super Hornets’ arrival marks a new chapter for Air Force.”

“Australia’s 24 Super Hornets will be the bridging air combat capability during the transition to the Joint Strike Fighter force and will maintain our regional air superiority as our F-111s are withdrawn,” Senator Faulkner said.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, the Hon Greg Combet MP, said, “The Super Hornet project is on-budget and on-schedule. It has been an outstanding example of an accelerated acquisition and model partnership.”

The Super Hornets, known affectionately as ‘Rhinos’, will be operated by Numbers 1 and 6 Squadrons at RAAF Amberley.

The US-built multirole fighters are Australia’s first new combat aircraft type in 25 years.  They will replace RAAF’s 37-year-old F-111 fleet, which will retire at the end of the year.

While the new fighters share a strong resemblance with Air Force’s existing F/A-18A/B ‘classic’ Hornets, they feature stealth characteristics, an enlarged airframe, more powerful engines, greater weapons and fuel payload, advanced avionics and state-of-the-art radar.