RAAF aircrew disembark their F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft at Al Minhad after completing their first combat mission over Iraq (Image © Corporal Max Bree / Defense News / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Australian Super Hornets return home

Six Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets are all set to return home after contributing to air strikes against Islamic State (IS) and Daesh targets in Iraq, the RAAF stated on 28 March. Older model F/A-18A Hornets from Number 75 Squadron from Tindal air base in the Australian Northern Territory, have replaced the Super Hornets.

The F/A-18F Super Hornets from RAAF Number 1 Squadron – normally based at Amberley airbase near Brisbane – started operations in the area seven months ago. Since September, crews flew 900 hours in over 400 sorties. Operations took place from Al Minhad in the United Arab Emirates. See here for a photo essay.

Over the last two weeks, the outgoing Super Hornet pilots and Hornet crews flew sorties together, in order to familiarize the Hornet crews. RAAF Air Task Group Commander Air Commodore Glen Braz said the new strike team had completed a comprehensive transition and was now flying combat air operations. “During the transition, having two outstanding fighter squadrons fly together in combat is a historic milestone for the RAAF.”

A RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet waits while a RAAF KC-30A taxis past at Al Minhad Airbase, UAE (Image © SGT Andrew Eddie / 28SQN AFID - AMB / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)
A RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet waits while a RAAF KC-30A taxis past at Al Minhad Airbase, UAE (Image © SGT Andrew Eddie / 28SQN AFID – AMB / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

Order
For security reasons, the RAAF won’t disclose when exactly the Super Hornets return home to Amberley. The Australians operate 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, and have 12 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare variants on order. A picture of the fuselage of the first Australian Growler was released just today.

Earlier this year, the RAAF gave a sneak preview of its future plans, which state the RAAF should be become one of the world’s most advanced air forces. More on that is here.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): RAAF aircrew disembark their F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft at Al Minhad. (Image © Corporal Max Bree / Defense News / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)