The F/A-18A (single seat) and F/A-18B (twin seat) Hornets are multi-role fighter aircraft, capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. They are an integral part of Australia's air combat capability.
Based at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal, the 47 F/A-18A/B Hornets are operated by:
- Number 75 Squadron, RAAF Base Tindal; and
- Number 77 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown.
In the last two years, the Hornets have participated in a range of exercises including Exercise Bersama Lima and Exercise Bersama Shield in Malaysia, Exercise Red Flag in Alaska, and Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory.
The fleet have undergone major electronic upgrades to ensure effective operations. Air Force's 47 F/A-18A/B Hornets will be replaced with 72 advanced F-35A Lightning II aircraft from 2018.
About the Aircraft
The Hornet was developed for the US Navy and Marine Corps, and has been a very successful aircraft. It is also used by Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.
The F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornets can undertake:
- air interception;
- air combat;
- close air support of ground troops; and
- interception of enemy supply lines including shipping.
The Hornet is also capable of air-to-air refuelling from the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport.
|Manufacturer||Boeing (originally McDonnell-Douglas)|
|Engine||Two low-bypass F404-GE-400 turbofans (7,258kg thrust each)|
|Airframe||Length: 17.1 m, height: 4.7 m|
|Weight||10,660 kg basic, 20,412 kg maximum|
|Speed||Mach 1.8 (2,200km/h)|
|Ceiling||Above 45,000 feet|