The first Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft has successfully completed its maiden flight.

Australia is acquiring 24 Super Hornet’s from Boeing, which will help the air force maintain capabilities between the phased-out F 111 bombers and the delivery of the Joint Strike fighters scheduled for 2015 .

The 24 F/A-18Fs ordered will deliver advanced air combat capabilities to the RAAF across the range of air-to-air, strategic land attacks and maritime strikes supported by its networked weapons system.

The first fighter will be delivered this month from the US, while the remaining 23 will enter RAAF service through 2010 and 2011.

The total programme investment over ten years is estimated to amount to $6bn including acquisition and support costs of facilities, training and personnel.