Australian Defence declares initial operating capability of first squadron of F-18F Super Hornets #military #auspol

Via Defence.


Australia’s first squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets is operational and ready for duty following the arrival of four new aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley.

The Super Hornets will add to the fire power of the RAAF, taking Australia’s capability to the next generation of fighter plane.

The fleet includes the first three of Australia’s Super Hornets to be configured to accommodate the Growler electronic attack system.

The Super Hornets will ensure Australia’s air combat capability is maintained until the full introduction into service of the Joint Strike Fighter.

The fleet of Super Hornets has reached initial operational capability on time and on budget.

The combined efforts of the United States Navy, Boeing and the Hornet Industry team have contributed to achieving this result.

The four newly arrived aircraft departed from the Boeing facility in St. Louis USA, and over a number of days transited to RAAF Base Amberley via Travis Air Force Base California, Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii and Guam.

Mr Shayne Neumann, Federal Member for Blair, representing the Minister for Defence, and Senator the Honourable George Brandis, representing the Opposition Spokesperson for Defence, visited RAAF Base Amberley today to review the latest aircraft to arrive and to mark the occasion of the Super Hornets achieving initial operational capability.

The claim of maintaining “air combat capability” is silly considering the threat. And you should put a big “if” near any F-35 Joint Strike Fighter comment.

20 thoughts on “Australian Defence declares initial operating capability of first squadron of F-18F Super Hornets #military #auspol

  1. 2015. I am rapt, leave Ipswich, fly 280NM with three drop tanks, mininum weapons, no sign of the Eads Tankers yet?.
    Scare the living daylights out of the North Korean trawler, struggle back to Brisbane Airport, just got there.Phew.
    Jesus,JASSM ER did not work?Again. Classic Hornet out of Airframe hours, unknown wing fatigue problems again. Wiring loom sparking again.
    Angus Huston has a lot to answer for.

  2. In addition, can anyone explain to me why the F111 must e scrapped immediately, rahther than presreve such a mature system?

  3. Isn’t this RAAF’s tanker? The first (more or less) of two that are due to be delivered by Christmas 2010 and based at “Ipswich” right alongside the Super Hornets?


      • True, it’s a long way from IOC, let alone FOC, but I think you’re getting a bit carried away. The first two airframes are due to be handed over to RAAF this very month. Hose and drogue refuelling will be available from day 1, so we’ll have greater capability than the B707’s could provide from the first day RAAF flies them.

        The boom requires a bit more work for full military certification and EW system needs to be updated (because the US won’t allow EADS to install LAIRCM) before FOC can happen, but to say we’ll have NO aerial refuelling capability prior to 2015 is a tad misleading.

        And you’ve forgotten the Super Hornet’s buddy refuelling pod, which RAAF HAS bought.

      • Also why did we sell the 707’s before the new capability arrived.
        All three 707’s are in private hands doing well, we even paid the contractor to use the ex RAAF aircraft to ferry the Super Hornets acros the Pacific.
        Remember Angus advising some years ago that they were unusable?
        So far the new capability is more than 3 years late?

      • Not really certain why we couldn’t keep those B707’s, funding and the need to train crews onto the KC-30A’s I expect. The B707’s were old as hell in 2008 when they were finally retired from RAAF service.

        People seem to have the impression that you can finish using a platform at 4.00pm one afternoon and then start using a new capability at 8.00am the next morning. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that. The force needs the time to build up it’s capability to operate and “fight” a particular platform. It needs to develop a corporate knowledge of the new platform and develop “professional mastery” of the new capability. All of this takes years.

        The B707’s are being replaced by the KC-30A, which was due in 2008 but as we all know has been delayed. In that time we haven’t suffered greatly from lacking tanker capability, especially with access to Omega refuelling and allied tanking capability. The situation isn’t perfected, but it’s been managed as well as required, under the circumstances. Another good example of why being the “launch customer” for a platform, especially when the out-going capability is at the end of it’s useful service within RAAF, is not a good idea as far as Australia is concerned…

  4. Bonza have a closer look.
    Have a look at where the caribous were.
    We have even homeported C17s.
    It is hundreds of acres.
    During WW2 there were hundred on even less concrete.

  5. My first reply was a little tongue in cheek, hence the smiley face. The answer to your original question is obvious. Neither RAAF nor Government have any confidence in F-111 to continue to provide our primary strike capability. Just about everyone here will probably share a different opinion and that’s fine, but that is why.

    Plus in my opinion, F-111 died when it wasn’t deployed to Iraq in 2003. Government saw the RAAF making a (relatively) politically valuable deployment of fighters with Hornets, doing a bit of OCA/DCA and not being threatened all that greatly, but also saw how much the F-111’s cost and how little they provided in REAL “political” value (never mind “strategic value for the minute) and that was their deathknell.

    Plain and simple. Whatever it’s utility in high level combat scenarios, they being unlikely for the most part, the F-111 simply doesn’t provide anywhere near enough “political” weight for the lower level scenarios, we are most likely to find ourselves in, being too costly to deploy in the majority of scenarios…

    • Not the problem.Most studies show the F111 to be a cheaper option than using the Hornet, eg persistence, less sorties etc.
      It was never employed in the middle east as it was seen to be too capable.
      Not the point. the point is to preseve them,they are mechanically mature,understood by local industry. DSTO gives the structure another 20 Years(not my opinion).
      Whatever , lets mothball them.
      No harm doe, why scrap them? Someone hiding their mistakes, thought that is what the medical profession did?
      In addition make some enquires as to how much maintenance will be done locally on the F18 Super Hornet.? Not much.

      • “Too capable”? What a joke. It wasn’t deployed because our capability in Iraq had to be capable of OCA and DCA roles, not just strike or “plinking” missions and the F-111 ain’t a fighter. It is also far more expensive and difficult to support individually whilst only giving us capability in a fairly narrow role.

        If it isn’t obvious, ADF as a whole is moving away from acquiring role specific platforms, not just RAAF.

    • Bonza, the RAAF and Government “decided” not to have to have any confidence in the F-111 so they very deliberately over a period of years stripped it of operational deployments like Iraq and stalled any further upgrades. For the price we paid for the Super Bugs we could have started a comprehensive F-111 upgrade that would have seen it stay more than relevant beyond it’s originally planned retirement date of the early 2020’s. Instead we ended up with a new airframe that has significantly less capability. Anything the F/A-18F has the F-111 could have had and then some. Thats a great example of the kind of mediocre planning and management we now have in defence, dont believe me? Then just take a look at the list of mismanagement, contradiction and plain stupidity we have seen in the last 10-15 years in program after program.

      And as for any given weapon system providing or not providing enough “political” weight in a given scenario, last time I checked I thought that the whole rationale behind purchasing said weapon systems was for military capability. Not bullshit political smoke and mirrors games. Perhaps that is where we have gone wrong and why so many programs have failed?

      • Or, we could have launched such a project and wallowed in development hell for so long the project was cancelled just like the Seasprite.

        I know the F-111 was supposed to obtain such a future proof “advanced capability” through integrating “off the shelf” equipment, but so was the Seasprite. Same radar as the Seahawk, same ESM system, mostly same weapons etc. We couldn’t make that work, we couldn’t make FFG-UP work, we couldn’t make AP-3C upgrade work for a long time, we couldn’t make M113AS3/4 upgrade work for a long time, we still can’t make HF Modernisation Project work (HF Communications upgrade) we couldn’t make AGM-142 Popeye onto F-111 work for over 8 years (with $600 million spent in the process… Kind of makes the “$1b F-111S upgrade look a bit short changed, doesn’t it?) and so on.

        Personally, pitching that idea in the middle of so many similar (in concept) upgrade projects all being mired in the middle of development hell was just about the worst commercial idea I’ve ever heard of, no matter the potential validity of the capability at the end of it all.

        Subsequent events confirmed that to be the case.

  6. If you would like to see what the evidence is to the longevity of the fleet is, and the lies told by Houston at variou senate enquiries, access Hansard:
    Joint Standing Committee on Forein Affairs, Defence and Trade (Defence Subcommittee)

    Reference: Australian Defence Force Reional Air Superiority.
    Wednesday ,5 ?July 2006
    All involved in the maintenace gave evidence that the airframe was infinitely sustainable, reverse engineering,including DSTO.
    They even advised that with extra amchinery the could make you a new one.

    Not my opinion, evidence in Hansard.
    Publish youe email address if want a copy.

    • Yeah, I saw that back in the day. Why don’t you quote what Rosebank Engineering had to say about the F-111 maintenance program to that Committee?

      No-one has ever said the F-111 couldn’t be maintained. What the foremost authorities within RAAF HAVE said, and staked their professional reputations on the line with, is that the COST to do so, was no longer worth it.

      If you’ve got a problem with range, move the aircraft closer. I’m seriously wondering what circumstance would require RAAF to launch operational sorties by Rhinos from Amberley. You’ve deliberately misstated the radius of the aircraft anyway (280nm with 3x tanks and little other stores? Please…) unless you’re factoring in an unbelievable loiter time and the issue with refuellers is grossly overstated as the first two hose and drogue capable planes are scheduled to be handed over to RAAF within weeks.

      If it’s not clear enough, I feel you are deliberately misinterpreting the facts, to suit your own agenda. Why, I’ve no idea. Some misplaced “love” for the past I suspect…

  7. Bonza.
    If I am correct, I believe that the American Airforce was somewhere in the background.I also believe that the Classic Hornet should not have been too near the front line at that time.

    • Nor would the F-111 until the SAM and limited though it was, fighter threat was taken care of. It would have waited for the US to do the hard work too, despite being as “capable” as you allege it was…

      That was a political decision though. I know you are sceptical, but then you probably don’t know that the CDF and Defmin personally approved EVERY single target engaged by RAAF during Op Falconer…

      Not one single target was engaged by RAAF without prior approval from CDF and Defmin.

      Kind of makes you wonder what role CJOPS actually has…

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