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January 31, 2013
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FLTLT Cath Friend
SUPER Hornet teams from RAAF
Base Amberley ended 2012 on a high
when they achieved Final Operational
Capability (FOC) for the fleet of 24
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
and Defence Materiel Minister Jason
Clare jointly announced the milestone
on December 13.
FOC is declared when the entire
capability could be deployed on
Defence operations. FOC takes into
account not only the aircraft itself but
also logistics, management, sustain-
ment, facilities and training.
Mr Smith said it was a "major
milestone for the Super Hornet
fleet and a major step forward for
Australia's air combat capability".
"The Super Hornet fleet ensures
Australia's air combat capability
regional edge is maintained until the
introduction into service of the F-35A
Joint Strike Fighter," Mr Smith said.
"The Super Hornets have been
delivered on budget and ahead of
schedule because of the teamwork
of the manufacturer Boeing, the US
Navy, the RAAF and the Defence
Coinciding with the FOC
announcement, Mr Smith and Mr
Clare also announced that Australia
had sent a letter of request to the US
Government for the purchase of an
additional 24 Super Hornets through
the United States Foreign Military
The letter of request does not
commit Australia to purchase more
Super Hornets -- it will provide the
Australian Government detailed infor-
mation and costings to further con-
sider Australia's air combat capability
options in 2013.
The first Super Hornets arrived in
Australia from the US on March 26,
2010 and achieved Initial Operational
Capability (IOC) on December 8 that
Commander Air Combat Group
AIRCDRE Tony Grady said IOC
allowed the fleet the ability to deploy
within Australia and the near region
for air combat operations.
"Since IOC the F/A-18F capabil-
ity has continued to mature with the
delivery of remaining elements of this
capability and ongoing operational
test and evaluation," he said.
To help achieve FOC, 1SQN
deployed to Malaysia in 2010 for
Exercise Bersama Shield, Guam in
2012 for Exercise Cope North, and on
multiple exercises within Australia,
including Exercise Pitch Black last
"The Super Hornet personnel from
1 and 6SQNs have been incredibly
busy over the past two years partici-
pating in exercises all over Australia
and overseas, but the hard work by
everyone has paid off and the Super
Hornet performed commendably dur-
ing the exercises and demonstrated
how the capability has matured since
IOC," AIRCDRE Grady said.
He said the Super Hornets had also
been working tirelessly throughout
2012 in Townsville, providing air-to-
ground support to ADF units prepar-
ing to deploy for overseas operations.
"It's great to know that we have
already been providing essential sup-
port to ADF personnel and units prior
to their deploying on operational
deployments by providing realistic
air-to-ground support," AIRCDRE
Rhino now ready for ops
ON A HIGH: The Super Hornet
fleet of 24 F/A-18F aircraft has now
achieved Final Operational Capability.
Photo: LACW Shannon McCarthy
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