The Australian Department of Defense announced the “disposal” of F/A-18A/B Hornet fighter aircraft on Mar. 5, 2020. Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel at RAAF Base Williamtown will be responsible for preparing the aircraft for their transfer to a private contractor in the United States. Williamtown, which is situated just north of the city of Newcastle, is home to three of the four remaining Australian F/A-18A/B units, No. 3 and No. 77 Squadrons and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit, the latter of which is responsible for training pilots on the type. No. 75 Squadron is based at RAAF Base Tindal in Australia’s Northwestern Territory.
The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) final 46 ‘classic’ Hornets are to be transferred to Illinois-based Air USA, which will use the aircraft for US Air Force (USAF) ‘Red Air’ aggressor training. The Australian Department of Defense does say that Air USA plans to use the aircraft it does receive for air combat training in the United States, which could include sorties as part of the huge adversary air support deal the U.S. Air Force concluded last year. The sale of these final Hornet fighters follows an earlier sale of 18 aircraft to the Royal Canadian Air Force, and is the latest milestone in the RAAF’s transition from the type over to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has operated McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft since 1984. The Australian Government purchased 75 A and B variants of the F/A-18 in 1981 to replace the RAAF’s Dassault Mirage III fighters. The Hornets entered service with the RAAF between 1984 and 1990. Four Hornets were destroyed in flying accidents during the late 1980s and early 1990s, two were transferred to Canada in February 2019 and several others have been retired. Based at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, the 71 F/A-18A/B Hornets are operated by:Number 3 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown; Number 75 Squadron, RAAF Base Tindal; Number 77 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown; and Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit, RAAF Base Williamtown for pilot training.
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