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Vol. 53, No. 19, October 27, 2011
The official newspaper of the Royal Australian Air Force
Air Force welcomes fournew Rhinos with dramatic20-ship formation flypast
RHINO SWARM:To mark thearrival of four new F/A-18 SuperHornets, and the completion of thefleet for 1 and 6SQNs, a 20-shipRhino formation flew into RAAFBase Amberley on October 21.The formation is shown here flyingover Noosa. CAF AIRMSHL GeoffBrown piloted one of the jets,along with OC 82WG GPCAPTSteve Roberton, pictured belowinset being interviewed by themedia with his family.
Photos: LACGlynn Jones (main) and CPL Andrew Eddie
October 27, 2011
Editorial team
David Edlington:
(02) 6265 4650david.edlington@defencenews.gov.au 
Editor/Deputy Director
Simone Liebelt:
(02) 6265 2253
0400 003792simone.liebelt@defencenews.gov.au
Deputy Editor and sport
John Martin:
(02) 6265 7219
Trish Dillon:
(02) 6266 7607tdillon@defencenews.gov.au
Tim Asher:
(07) 3332 7651
0459 842551
Air Force online
Air Force News
is publishedfortnightly by the Directorate of Defence News. Printed by CapitalFine Print.
The publisher reservesthe right to refuse advertising if it isdeemed inappropriate and to changethe size of the ad, print type orother specifications if material is notcompatible with our system. The factan ad is accepted for publication doesnot mean that the product or servicehas the endorsement of Defence orAir Force News.
LAC Bill Solomou:
(02) 6265 1355
Contact us:
 Air Force News, PO Box 7909,Canberra BC, ACT 2610
Air F
RHINOS took to the skies in forcewith 20 F/A-18F Super Hornetsperforming a mass formationflypast to welcome four new jets.Sixteen jets launched fromRAAF Base Amberley and trackedto North Stradbroke Island wherethey formed up, crossing the coastat Southport before flying down theGold Coast and Tweed Heads.The dramatic formation then flewout to sea and re-formed at a pointoff the Sunshine Coast where theygreeted the four new jets.The 20-strong formation thenflew south from Noosa Headsdown to the Sunshine Coast toBrisbane where it provided a mag-nificent spectacle over the CBD enroute to Ipswich.Meanwhile, a solo Super Hornetkept the crowds at Amberley amazedwith a high-performance aerial dis-play over the base demonstrating theadvanced capabilities of the Rhino.Applause erupted at RAAF BaseAmberley as the jets touched downat their new home, signifying thesuccessful delivery of all 24 SuperHornets for 82WG.Leading the fifth Super Hornetferry from the States, OC 82WGGPCAPT Steve Roberton said it wasa great day for Air Force.“It would have been an impres-sive sight to watch the 20 jets flyover in close formation, but equallyas impressive is the hard work andcoordinated effort from the mainte-nance workforce to have this manyjets serviceable and available tolaunch,” GPCAPT Roberton said.Supported by a USAF KC-10tanker, the four-ship ferry departedLemoore in California, makingoperational stops in Guam, Hawaiiand Townsville before joining theawe inspiring mass formation ontheir way home to Amberley.It took five days to fly the longjourney across the Pacific, withfriends and family welcoming theaircrew and maintainers homefollowing about six weeks in theStates testing the new aircraftbefore final acceptance.CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brownjoined the team in Townsville andexperienced the historic flypast first-hand from the front seat of Aircraft222.“The Super Hornet providesAustralia with leading-edgecapability that was demonstratedtoday with the mass flypast. Weacknowledge the hard work of thewhole team at Amberley to achievethis remarkable display,” AIRMSHLBrown said.
– FLTLT Skye Smith
FLTLT Skye Smith
THE arrival of four F/A-18F Super Hornets in Brisbane has completed de-livery of all 24 jets for 1 and 6SQNs.The new Rhinos arrived withmuch fanfare as part of a spectacular 0-ship formation on October 21.Minister for Defence Materielason Clare said the Super Hornetsere the new front line of Australia’sefence Force.“They are amongst the best fighter planes in the world – and all 24 air-raft have been delivered on budgetnd ahead of schedule,” he said.“The F-111 farewell 10 monthsgo was a sad day, but today we cel- brate the tremendous capability theSuper Hornet provides now and wellnto the future. Today we know we aren good hands.”CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said he occasion was an important day for ir Force and an important day for ustralia.“The Super Hornet is a tremen-ous addition to the air combat fleetnd is the greatest capability we haveeading us into the future today and or many years to come,” AIRMSHLrown said.Leading the four-ship ferry inircraft 224, OC 82WG GPCAPTSteve Roberton took the final honourss his jet touched down last on homeoil at RAAF Base Amberley follow-ng the flypast and transit from thenited States.“The Super Hornet providesmajor advancement in capabilityor the RAAF and the entire ADF,”PCAPT Roberton said.“The Super Hornet employs theorld’s most advanced combat radar,nsuring our forces have a clear dvantage in both technology and apability, whether conducting air,round or maritime operations.“The Super Hornet’s ability to col-ect and seamlessly distribute informa-ion to our other platforms is proving tobe invaluable as a true force multiplier.”The Australian governmentannounced plans in March 2007 toacquire 24 advanced Block II versionsof the F model Super Hornet, whichfeatures a two-person cockpit.The first five Super Hornets arrived at Amberley on March 26, 2010, and the aircraft has been progressively intro-duced into service since.The Super Hornet fleet will bridgethe gap between the F-111 retirementand Joint Strike Fighter delivery.The Rhino is a multi-role aircraft,able to perform virtually every mis-sion in the tactical spectrum, includ-ing air superiority, day/night strikewith precision-guided weapons, fight-er escort, close air support, suppres-sion of enemy air defences, maritimestrike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.The F/A-18F also has stand-off attack and maritime interdiction capa-bility through the Joint Stand-Off eapon and Harpoon anti-shippingmissile.Use of the F/A-18F ActiveElectronically Scanned Array radar and the dual cockpit configuration offersenhanced, networked air combat solu-tion in an increased threat environment.The Rhino can carry about one-third more fuel and weapons payload than the F/A-18A or F/A-18B ClassicHornet aircraft, while maintaining thesame speed and handling characteris-tics in combat configurations.The total program investment isabout $6 billion over 10 years, whichincludes acquisition and all supportcosts as well as personnel. The acqui-sition component is about $2.7 bil-lion for 24 aircraft, weapons, facilitiesupgrades and training.At final operational capability,expected by the end of 2012, the Super Hornet capability will be mature withtraining being conducted in Australiaand 24 aircraft with associated person-nel, weapons and logistics support.Phase two of the project willacquire the AIM-9X within-visual-range air-to-air missile, a new variantof the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) beyond-visual-range air-to air missile, theJoint Stand-Off Weapon C and C-1medium-range air-to-surface weaponand new infra-red flares.Twelve of the F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft have been pre-wired for later conversion to EA-18G Growler if required by the government.The Block II F/A-18F Super Hornets will assure Australia’s region-al air combat capability edge throughto the introduction of the Joint StrikeFighter and withdrawal of the ClassicHornet.
Fanfare for Rhinos
CAFAIRMSHL Geoff Brown climbsfrom the cockpit soon afterlanding at Amberley withSQNLDR Grant Fifield.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
Look, up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it aplane? No, it’s our Super Hornets enthralling the crowd at RAAFBase Amberley.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
October 27, 2011
Help us raise vital funds for Legacy
From 1 July, Toll Transitions will donate $1 to Legacy foreach Application For Relocation (AFR) entered online viaToll Transitions’ website. Our aim is to raise more than$10,000 in the coming peak posting period.In addition to helping Legacy, you will also go into a
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Eamon Hamilton
FRESH WATER will be in supplyon the tiny South Pacific nation of Tuvalu, thanks to trans-Tasman coop-eration.A 36SQN C-17A has worked with a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) C-130H to deliver a desalinisation unit to Tuvalu’s mainisland.Picking up the unit and NewZealand Defence Force personnel inAuckland on October 10, the C-17Aflew 2900 kilometres over the Pacificto Samoa.Tuvalu’s airport was too smallto support a C-17A for this task,meaning a Hercules from RNZAF’s40SQN carried the load over theremaining 1300 kilometres.Tuvalu is comprised of a series of islands, and at 26 square kilometres isthe world’s fourth smallest country.Low rainfall has contributed todrought conditions for Tuvalu’s pop-ulation of 10,472.The newly-delivered desalina-tion unit can produce 50,000 litres of water a day, and with existing unitswill provide the minimum water requirements on the main island.An Australian foreign affairs offi-cial travelled with the desalinisation plant to monitor its installation and help assess additional freshwater needs.CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown praised this latest example of trans-Tasman cooperation with NewZealand.“This most recent humanitarianassistance activity demonstrates theclose relationship between the NewZealand and Australian DefenceForces,” AIRMSHL Brown said.“Our interoperability also demon-strates how our countries can work quickly to support humanitarianassistance activities in the region.”In February and March,Australian C-17As and C-130s wereused to transport Urban Search and Rescue workers to Christchurch fol-lowing that city’s earthquake.In October 2009, Australia and  New Zealand coordinated our respons-es to an 8.3 magnitude earthquake (and resultant tsunami) in Samoa.FLTLT James Gotch is a 36SQN pilot who was on the latest mercyflight to Tuvalu, and said the squad-ron had been training in NewZealand prior to the task.“We were in New Zealand as partof an adverse terrain and low leveltraining activity, as there’s somechallenging airfields and conditionsin the South Island,” FLTLT Gotchsaid.“There was low flying of Milford Sound and some mountain rangesgiving us an appreciation of what theC-17A can do at low level and judgehow we fly ridge crossings and other low level flying techniques.”
DEFENCE will look into a possiblereplacement for the Caribou aircraft,which was retired in 2009 after 45years service to Air Force.Information will be sought on theprice and availability of the C-27JSpartan battlefield tactical lift aircraftafter the Australian Governmentauthorised Defence to issue a non-binding/no-commitment Letter ofRequest to the US.Defence Minister Stephen Smithand Defence Materiel Minister JasonClare announced the move on October19 as part of the process to find areplacement for the Caribou under pro-ject Air 8000 Phase 2.The project is looking to acquire upto 10 new aircraft.Defence analysis has confirmedthat the C-27J Spartan is an aircraftthat could meet Australia’s battlefieldtactical airlift capability need.It is operated by the US Air NationalGuard, which has a planned total fleetof 38 aircraft. However, the acquisitioncontract of the US Air National Guardaircraft is coming to an end, requiringthe letter of request to be sent.Since the retirement of theCaribous, Australia has had a militarycapability gap of fixed wing battlefieldtactical airlift. The gap has been par-tially met by the Hercules and King Airaircraft and Army helicopters.As well as the Spartan, the govern-ment will look at other options, includ-ing the Airbus Military C-295 aircraft.Defence anticipates receiving aresponse to the Letter of Request byearly 2012.
For you, Tuvalu
New fleetmay be onthe horizon
C-27J Spartan.
Photo courtesy Alenia North America
Photo courtesy Airbus Military
Local Tuvalu people watch while a RNZAF Hercules returns toApia in Samoa after dropping off supplies and NZDF personnel to the small South Pacificnation; inset, NZDF medics and engineers aboard a 36SQN C-17A along with supplies fromthe Red Cross and large containers to hold water.
Photos: AC Maria Oosterbaan, NZDF

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