The Royal Australian Air Force’s intention to acquire new F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft has received fresh interest with the signing of the sustainment contract with Boeing.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet said the signing of the Super Hornet aircraft sustainment contract was worth approximately $20m a year, and would provide 74 jobs at RAAF Base Amberley for three years.

“Under the contract the Boeing Company will provide engineering, supply chain management and maintenance services to support F/A-18F Super Hornet operations,” he said.

“The contract is vital for effective support of the RAAF’s fleet of Super Hornets when they arrive at RAAF Amberley early next year.

“The first four of Australia’s Super Hornets will arrive at RAAF Base Amberley in March / April 2010 with the remaining aircraft to be progressively introduced throughout the remainder of 2010 and 2011.”

A suite of integrated and networked systems in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet provides enhanced interoperability, total force support for the combatant commander and for the troops on the ground.

Powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines, the Super Hornet is capable of day and night strikes with precision-guided weapons.

The RAAF will acquire 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets to enhance its joint strike fighter capability, and replace its aging F-111 fleet in December 2010.