The Royal Australian Air Force is planning to decommission its last General Dynamics F-111Cs, closing a chapter in aviation history that began with the first flight of the F-111A prototype in the US almost 46 years ago.

The F-111Cs, the last F111s in operation anywhere in the world, will be replaced by a fleet of 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets, the first 11 of which are already in Australia with another three to be delivered by the end of 2010.

Another 10 two-seat F/A-18Fs have been scheduled for delivery by October 2011 to fully replace the F-111.

The RAAF originally planned to replace the F-111 this year with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, reports

However, Lockheed’s delay in the programme in 2004 paved the way for the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets in 2006.