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October 27, 2011
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RHINOS took to the skies in force
with 20 F/A-18F Super Hornets
performing a mass formation
flypast to welcome four new jets.
Sixteen jets launched from
RAAF Base Amberley and tracked
to North Stradbroke Island where
they formed up, crossing the coast
at Southport before flying down the
Gold Coast and Tweed Heads.
The dramatic formation then flew
out to sea and re-formed at a point
off the Sunshine Coast where they
greeted the four new jets.
The 20-strong formation then
flew south from Noosa Heads
down to the Sunshine Coast to
Brisbane where it provided a mag-
nificent spectacle over the CBD en
route to Ipswich.
Meanwhile, a solo Super Hornet
kept the crowds at Amberley amazed
with a high-performance aerial dis-
play over the base demonstrating the
advanced capabilities of the Rhino.
Applause erupted at RAAF Base
Amberley as the jets touched down
at their new home, signifying the
successful delivery of all 24 Super
Hornets for 82WG.
Leading the fifth Super Hornet
ferry from the States, OC 82WG
GPCAPT Steve Roberton said it was
a great day for Air Force.
"It would have been an impres-
sive sight to watch the 20 jets fly
over in close formation, but equally
as impressive is the hard work and
coordinated effort from the mainte-
nance workforce to have this many
jets serviceable and available to
launch," GPCAPT Roberton said.
Supported by a USAF KC-10
tanker, the four-ship ferry departed
Lemoore in California, making
operational stops in Guam, Hawaii
and Townsville before joining the
awe inspiring mass formation on
their way home to Amberley.
It took five days to fly the long
journey across the Pacific, with
friends and family welcoming the
aircrew and maintainers home
following about six weeks in the
States testing the new aircraft
before final acceptance.
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown
joined the team in Townsville and
experienced the historic flypast first-
hand from the front seat of Aircraft
"The Super Hornet provides
Australia with leading-edge
capability that was demonstrated
today with the mass flypast. We
acknowledge the hard work of the
whole team at Amberley to achieve
this remarkable display," AIRMSHL
-- 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 with
much fanfare as part of a spectacular
20-ship formation on October 21.
Minister for Defence Materiel
Jason Clare said the Super Hornets
were the new front line of Australia's
"They are amongst the best fighter
planes in the world -- and all 24 air-
craft have been delivered on budget
and ahead of schedule," he said.
"The F-111 farewell 10 months
ago was a sad day, but today we cel-
ebrate the tremendous capability the
Super Hornet provides now and well
into the future. Today we know we are
in good hands."
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said
the occasion was an important day for
Air Force and an important day for
"The Super Hornet is a tremen-
dous addition to the air combat fleet
and is the greatest capability we have
leading us into the future today and
for many years to come," AIRMSHL
Leading the four-ship ferry in
Aircraft 224, OC 82WG GPCAPT
Steve Roberton took the final honours
as his jet touched down last on home
soil at RAAF Base Amberley follow-
ing the flypast and transit from the
"The Super Hornet provides
a major advancement in capability
for the RAAF and the entire ADF,"
GPCAPT Roberton said.
"The Super Hornet employs the
world's most advanced combat radar,
ensuring our forces have a clear
advantage in both technology and
capability, whether conducting air,
ground or maritime operations.
"The Super Hornet's ability to col-
lect and seamlessly distribute informa-
tion to our other platforms is proving to
be invaluable as a true force multiplier."
The Australian government
announced plans in March 2007 to
acquire 24 advanced Block II versions
of the F model Super Hornet, which
features 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 bridge
the gap between the F-111 retirement
and 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 strike
with precision-guided weapons, fight-
er escort, close air support, suppres-
sion of enemy air defences, maritime
strike, 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
Weapon and Harpoon anti-shipping
Use of the F/A-18F Active
Electronically Scanned Array radar and
the dual cockpit configuration offers
enhanced, 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 Classic
Hornet aircraft, while maintaining the
same speed and handling characteris-
tics in combat configurations.
The total program investment is
about $6 billion over 10 years, which
includes acquisition and all support
costs as well as personnel. The acqui-
sition component is about $2.7 bil-
lion for 24 aircraft, weapons, facilities
upgrades and training.
At final operational capability,
expected by the end of 2012, the Super
Hornet capability will be mature with
training being conducted in Australia
and 24 aircraft with associated person-
nel, weapons and logistics support.
Phase two of the project will
acquire the AIM-9X within-visual-
range air-to-air missile, a new variant
of the Advanced Medium Range Air-
to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) beyond-
visual-range air-to air missile, the
Joint Stand-Off Weapon C and C-1
medium-range air-to-surface weapon
and 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 through
to the introduction of the Joint Strike
Fighter and withdrawal of the Classic
Fanfare for Rhinos
ARRIVING IN STYLE: CAF
AIRMSHL Geoff Brown climbs
from the cockpit soon after
landing at Amberley with
SQNLDR Grant Fifield.
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
OUR SUPER HEROES: Look, up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a
plane? No, it's our Super Hornets enthralling the crowd at RAAF
Photo: CPL Andrew Eddie
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