The No. 82 Wing Training Flight (82TF), based at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Amberley, is a trial to deliver aircrew operational conversion training in the Super Hornet aircraft in Australia. Commanding Officer of 82TF, 82 Wing Executive Officer Wing Commander Trevor Andrews, said the launch of the trial was an important milestone for Air Combat Group. Operational conversion training had been conducted with United States Navy since 2015. This program will enable No. 82 Wing to provide enduring aircrew training for the entire capability spectrum required for the F/A-18F.
Royal Australian Air Force expect significant advantages to be realised through an Australian-based operational conversion, such as improved delivery of Australian-trained aircrew back into the squadrons, increased standardisation, reduction in duplicate training overheads and increased alignment to Australian graduation requirements. The training will provide a sustainable flying training solution supported by six F/A-18F aircraft and a mixed maintenance workforce of contracted and uniformed members.
82TF is a partnership arrangement between Air Force and Boeing Defence Australia’s Air Combat Electronic Attack sustainment program. Under the arrangement, Boeing provides the operational maintenance to the fleet of six Super Hornets under the existing Air Combat Electronic Attack sustainment contract. Ten uniformed RAAF technicians are also embedded within Boeing’s maintenance personnel, thereby building the workforce strength of both organisations.
On 3 May 2007, the Australian Government signed an A$2.9 billion contract to acquire 24 F/A-18Fs for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as an interim replacement for aging F-111s. The F/A-18F Super Hornets are based at Number 1 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley. The total cost with training and support over 10 years was expected to be A$6 billion (US$4.6 billion).In December 2012, the Australian government sought information from the United States about the cost of acquiring a further 24 F/A-18Fs, which may be purchased to avoid a capability gap due to F-35 program delays.