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Australia selling retired Hornets to US air training contractor

Hornet aircraft
Australian F/A-18A Hornets taxi onto the Andersen Air Force Base runway during Exercise Cope North 20 in Guam. Photo: Australian defense ministry

The Australian government has announced the sale of up to 46 retired F/A-18 Hornet aircraft for their sale to US air combat training contractor Air USA.

The aircraft are to be serviced and prepared for sale at RAAF Base Williamtown. According to the government, all Hornets are to be sold over the next three to four years.

Air USA is one of seven companies contracted by the US Air Force last year to deliver adversary training support.

“The work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale will provide 24 direct industry jobs while Air Force transitions from the Classic Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter,” Australian minister for defense industry Melissa Price said.

Australia earlier sold 21 of the overall 71 Hornets once operated by the Royal Australian Air Force to Canada.

The RAAF Hornet fleet is being progressively retired as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter is introduced into service. Australia has so far taken delivery of 20 Joint Strike Fighters, out of a total order of 72.