Up to ten Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2OCU) based at RAAF Base Williamtown will conduct their final flight under the unit’s banner on 11 December.
11.30am - Aircraft will depart RAAF Base Williamtown and track north off the Tomaree coast.
The Hornets will then form up in a 'Number 2’ formation over:
12.00pm - Port Stephens (Tomaree - Soldiers Pt - Medowie)
12.04pm - Williamtown
12.05pm - Newcastle (Harbour – CBD – Merewether – Redhead)
12.07pm - Redhead Beach
12.13pm - Williamtown
The aircraft will then conduct a low level coastal run north to Sugarloaf Point and back again to Nobbys Beach, before breaking into pairs for low level initial and pitch recovery to land, commencing at around 12.25pm.
The historic flight acknowledges the conclusion of Classic Hornet pilot conversion training this year marking an end of an era. The aircraft will fly north over Tomaree to Sugarloaf Point coastal areas, up the Port and south to Redhead Beach.
Commanding Officer 2OCU, Wing Commander Scott Woodland, said that 2OCU’s final Classic Hornet mission will be conducted along coastal communities of the Units’ hometown of RAAF Base Williamtown and that this is a befitting tribute to this significant milestone in Air Force history:
‘2OCU's critical role in preparing generations of Classic Hornet fighter aircrew with the skills and competency to engage in fighter combat has laid the very foundations of RAAF air combat power capability since the introduction of the platform in 1985.
‘Operational conversion has been at the cornerstone of the strength of the Classic Hornet platforms’ contribution – taking graduate Hawk 127 Lead-in Fighter pilots and then testing and challenging them under the most gruelling of conditions and toughest air combat scenarios.
“The result has been the delivery of highly trained, focused personnel to front-line squadrons, performing with excellence at home and abroad on operations in Defence of our national interests.’
With this historic flight now closing a significant chapter in Air Force history – the future of fast-jet aircrew training at 2OCU is now firmly established with the training focus honed on supporting fifth-generation capabilities with the arrival and operational sustainment of the F-35A Lighting II.
‘We welcome the commencement of the next phase of pilot conversion training for the F-35A.
‘This represents a fundamental shift for 2OCU; one which we are fully equipped and ready to continue to deliver a superior war-fighting capability - supported by highly professional, highly skilled aircrew - performing with strength and focus when called upon by government.’
The RAAF F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet platform is planned to be withdrawn from service in Dec 2021, with the Classic Hornet fleet currently being replaced by the F-35A Lighting II.
Please note that all timings are approximate, and that all flying is subject to change due to weather, air traffic control and other aviation considerations.