:35 GMT, July 9, 2009 ST. LOUIS | Boeing [NYSE: BA] today unveiled the first of 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornets for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during a ceremony at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems' production facilities in St. Louis. The aircraft will be delivered later this month, three months ahead of schedule.
"The Super Hornet is on its way to delivering advanced combat capabilities to the Royal Australian Air Force," said Bob Gower, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 Programs. "Cooperation and great teamwork on the part of Australia's Defence Materiel Organisation, the Royal Australian Air Force, the U.S. Navy and the Hornet Industry Team have enabled the first RAAF Super Hornet to be delivered within budget and ahead of
The remaining 23 Super Hornets, each equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, will be delivered to the RAAF throughout 2010 and 2011.
"The RAAF Super Hornet will bring a new generation of air power to Australia," said Group Capt. Steve
Roberton, Head Air Combat Transition Office, RAAF. "Its advanced, networked weapons system will deliver enhanced air combat capability across the spectrum of air-to-air, strategic land attack and maritime strike, which is so important for Australia. It is a true multirole aircraft and there's a lot of excitement on the ground in the Air Combat Group about its arrival."
The Australian government announced in March 2007 that it would acquire 24 of the F/A-18F multirole fighters, making that country the first international Super Hornet customer.
"The rollout of the first RAAF Block II Super Hornet is an important and exciting milestone for all of the Australian and U.S. team members, who have accomplished a great deal of significant work to make this
event possible," said U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18 program manager, PMA-265. "Our long and successful relationship has been mutually beneficial during the RAAF classic Hornet program, and taking this next logical step with the acquisition of the Super Hornet is a win-win for both nations. The
Super Hornet's inherent tactical capabilities and ability to force multiply speak for themselves."
The Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft, able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons,
fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions. Boeing has delivered more than 395 F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy. Every Super Hornet produced has been delivered on or ahead of schedule.