First of the F/A-18 Super Hornet – Rhino’s Arrival

26 Mar 2010

The first five of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (Rhino) aircraft on order for the Air Force arrived at RAAF Base Amberley, becoming the Air Force’s first new air combat aircraft in 25 years. After further deliveries of Super Hornets were received, No 1 Squadron was declared operational on 8 December.

The RAAF identified the requirement for an aircraft to enable the transition between the retirement of the F-111 and the eventual achievement of full operational capability of the F-35. The Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet was the solution. Twenty-four Super Hornets were ordered in 2007 and were delivered by the end of October 2011. The initial crews were trained in the USA until No 6 Squadron took over that role. The Super Hornet is larger than the ‘Classic’ Hornet and is operated in a two crew configuration. It has the ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

By October 2014 the Super Hornet was conducting strike missions in support of Australia’s commitment to coalition operations against the Islamic State of Iraq. These strike missions were the first flown by the RAAF since the F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets flew missions over Iraq in 2003.

Australia’s close cooperation with the USA ensures the Super Hornet remains updated with the latest software and hardware suites.

Far from being the originally intended transition aircraft between the retirement of the F-111 and the delivery of the F-35A, the Super Hornet now serves as a fully operational component of the RAAF, flown by No 1 Squadron out of RAAF Base Amberley in South East Queensland.

To learn more, download this extract from Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force by David Richardson and Peter Wood.

Related base

  • RAAF Base Amberley

Related aircraft

  • Super Hornet
  • F/A-18 Hornet