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F/A-18A Hornet

F/A-18A Hornet

2 x General Electric F404-GE-400 low bypass turbofans
4,808 kg (10,600lb) thrust dry, or 7,257 kg (16,000 lb) with afterburner
17.07 m (56 ft)
4.66 m (15ft 3.5 in)
12.31 m (40 ft 4.75 in)
25,400 kg (56,000 lb)
Max Speed
Mach 1.8+ (1910 km/h / 1187mph)
15,240m (50,000 ft)
3700 km+ (without refuelling)

Description of Aircraft

The Royal Australian Air Force ordered 57 F/A-18A fighters (A21-001 to -057) and 18 F/A-18B two-seat trainers (A21-101 to -118), to replace its Dassault Mirage IIIOs, in October, 1981.

The aircraft were delivered over a five-year period between October, 1984 and May, 1990. The first two aircraft, A21-101 and A21-102, were produced in the US and flown to Australia, landing at RAAF Williamtown on 17 May, 1985. The remaining aircraft were assembled in Australia at the Government Aircraft Factories, Avalon facility.

In 2003, No 75 Squadron deployed 14 F/A-18s to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar as part of Operation Falconer, the Australian contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. No 75 Squadron flew its last combat sortie on 27 April, 2003. During the war the squadron flew 350 combat missions and dropped 122 laser-guided bombs. No 75 Squadron’s aircraft returned to RAAF Tindal on 14 May, 2003.

In March 2015, six F/A-18s from No. 75 Squadron were deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Okra, the Australian contribution to the International Global Coalition to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The ‘Classic Hornet’ and the ‘Super Hornet’ squadrons were rotated through the Middle East until January 2017 when the commitment of Hornet aircraft to the Coalition ceased.

The last Williamtown based Hornet flight was in December, 2020 while the final flight of the Tindal based Hornets of No 75 Squadron was conducted at the end of 2021.

A21-023 (on display) entered RAAF Service on 8 February, 1988.

The aircraft was deployed on Operation BASTILLE (pre-deployment of forces to the Middle East including acclimatisation and in-theatre training) from 16 Feb 2003 to 18 Mar 2003 and remained in-situ during Operation FALCONER (combat operations to disarm Iraq) until 3 May, 2003.

While located in the Middle East it flew approximately 150 hours on 30 combat missions delivering ordnance on at least seven of those missions.

On 12 April, 2003, A21-023 took part in the first Close Air Support (CAS) missions for Australian land forces (Special Air Services Regiment) since Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War ended in January, 1973.

In February, 2015 the ‘Worimi’ livery was unveiled at the Avalon Airshow by Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, demonstrating Air Force’s commitment to Indigenous men and women who have served and continue to serve, in the Australian Defence Force. The Worimi people are the traditional custodians of the land on which RAAF Williamtown stands today. The livery was designed by the Balarinji design agency and the aircraft features the pilot markings of the late Warrant Officer Len Waters, Air Force’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot.

View Other Aircraft Displays

Exhibited in two hangars, visitors can walk-around, touch and look into the cockpits of such famous aircraft as the Mirage III, the Avon Sabre, the Gloster Meteor, the first Vampire jet built in Australia, the mighty F-111C and the F/A-18A Hornet. Also on display is a World War 1 Sopwith Camel replica, WWII Spitfire replicas, a PC-9A(F) Foward Air Control aircraft, Winjeel trainer and much more.

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