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June 24, 2010
FLTLT Skye Smith
THE Super Hornets have clocked up another
milestone with an Air Force F414-GE-400
turbofan engine tested for the first time in
'Un-installed engine test cells' have been
modified at RAAF Bases Amberley and
Williamtown to enable the testing of the
F414 engine fitted to the F/A-18F Super
Hornet and the F404 engine fitted to the
F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet, at either site.
The upgrade of Test Cell 1 Amberley
and Engine Test Facility Williamtown was
conducted by Tasman Aviation Enterprises
(TAE) with the data acquisition upgrade
sub-contracted to Yanos Aerospace Inc. and
airflow modelling by BMT WBM Pty Ltd's
The design development commenced in
early 2009, with site acceptance testing at
Amberley and Williamtown completed in
March and again in May this year.
Australian Super Hornet Engineering
Support Systems Manager, SQNLDR Shane
Rees, said 1SQN will conduct operational
level maintenance on the F414 engine while
TAE will provide a local intermediate and
deeper-level maintenance capability.
They will also exercise engineering
authority on behalf of General Electric
International Inc. in support of a Total
Logistics Support contract.
"TAE will use the un-installed engine
test facilities to conduct acceptance test and
troubleshooting of F404 and F414 engines
to ensure engine reliability and availabil-
ity outcomes are maximised for both the
Classic Hornet and Super Hornet opera-
tions," SQNLDR Rees said.
The F414 engine is an advanced deriva-
tive of the GE F404 engines installed on the
Classic Hornet. They produce 35 per cent
more thrust and the airframe air inlets have
been enlarged to provide increased airflow
into the engines.
Some of the technological enhancements
adopted in this model include bladed disks,
new high temperature/strength materials
and dual channel redundant Full Authority
Digital Engine Control, which will allow
control by wire throttle.
The F414-GE-400 Sea Level Static
thrust rating is equivalent to the F-111
TF30 engine at only half the weight, which
underlines the advances in engine design
that have occurred over the past 40 years.
This upgrade will enable the Air Force
to test both Hornet and Super Hornet
engines here on Australian soil with state-
of-the-art facilities that are managed with
maximum Australian industry involvement.
FLTLT Skye Smith
NUMBER 2 Operational Conversion
Unit (2OCU) has returned to Townsville
to participate in Exercise High Sierra and
intends graduating eight new fighter pilots
following the three-week deployment.
The pilots will be put through their
paces during the exercise prior to gradu-
ating as operational fast-jet pilots.
Exercise High Sierra began on June
14 and represents the last three weeks
of the F/A-18 operational conversion
course, which converts fighter pilots
from the Hawk Lead-in-fighter to the
More than 150 members of 2OCU,
76SQN and 4SQN are participating in
the biennial training activity, which is
being conducted in the Shoalwater Bay
and Townsville Field training areas. It
wraps up on July 2.
The exercise provides participants
with high complexity air combat training
opportunities to test and practise deploy-
ment capabilities so that Air Combat
Group units can operate away from their
home bases when necessary.
CO 2OCU WGCDR David Smith
said the exercise was the culmination of
six months of intensive training on the
F/A-18 for his students.
"Exercise High Sierra provides
important training for all aircrew and
ground crew in deployed operations and
should result in the graduation of new
operational fighter pilots," WGCDR
The students are FLTLT Daniel
O'Donnell, FLGOFFs Jarrin Coombes,
Benjamin Lyons, Timothy Venz,
PLTOFFs Matthew Eastaway, Michael
Keightley, Adam Rouessart and SBLT
High Sierra takes off
START 'ER UP: For the first time in Australia,
a F414-GE-400 Super Hornet engine is
being tested at RAAF Bases Amberley and
Williamtown. Above and inset, the engine
is given a test run at Amberley, while, left,
test cell operators Ivo Correia (left) and Jody
Riggs from TAE monitor operations.
Photos: CPL Mark McConnell/ACW Rosaleen Normoyle
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