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Australia completes final Hornet maintenance ahead of 2021 retirement

RAAF Hornet
Royal Australian Air Force file photo of a Hornet taking off from RAAF Base Williamtown

The last F/A-18A/B Hornets to undergo deeper maintenance servicing have rolled out of the Boeing Defence Australia facility at RAAF Base Williamtown.

“This was the 163rd and final deeper maintenance servicing for the Air Force Classic Hornet fleet since 2013,” Australian defense industry minister Melissa Price said.

“These operations have generated an additional 140,000 flying hours for the Classic Hornets and also contributed $200 million to the Australian economy.”

Deeper maintenance servicing on the Classic Hornet will no longer be required as the capability is progressively replaced by the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

“To secure these local Hunter jobs, Boeing will continue to provide logistics, engineering and maintenance support through to the planned withdrawal date of December 2021,” minister Price said.

“Boeing will also assist Defence to prepare retired Classic Hornet aircraft for heritage display within Australia and potential sale to foreign customers.

The fleet of 75 Hornet aircraft were introduced into service in 1985 and will see 36 years of service by the planned withdrawal in December 2021.

Australia has sold 21 of the overall 71 Hornets once operated by the Royal Australian Air Force to Canada, while up to 46 aircraft are being prepared for their sale to US air combat training contractor Air USA.