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
ARRIVING IN STYLE:
CAFAIRMSHL Geoff Brown climbsfrom the cockpit soon afterlanding at Amberley withSQNLDR Grant Fifield.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
OUR SUPER HEROES:
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