F/A-18A/B Hornet

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 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 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)
Role Multi-role fighter
Crew Pilot
Engine Two low-bypass F404-GE-400 turbofans (7,258kg thrust each)
Airframe Length: 17.1 m, height: 4.7 m
Wingspan 12.4 m
Weight 10,660 kg basic, 20,412 kg maximum
Speed Mach 1.8 (2,200km/h)
  • Ferrying 2,700 km (without refuelling)
  • Interdiction over 1,000 km
  • Combat radius 740 km
Ceiling Above 45,000 feet
  • AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM)
  • AIM-132 Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM)
  • Practice, Conventional and Laser-Guided Bombs
  • Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and Laser JDAM
  • AGM-158 Joint Air-To-Surface Stand-Off Missile (JASSM)
  • M61 Nose-Mounted 20mm Cannon
  • Mission computers
  • Helmet Mounted Cueing System
  • Heads-up Displays
  • Radar and Infrared Sensing and Targeting Systems
  • Electronic Warfare and Infra-Red Self Protection Systems