An initial five F/A-18F Super Hornets were delivered by Boeing to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 26 March.

Super Hornet wing group captain Steven Roberton said that the on-schedule arrival of the new Australian Super Hornets marked the beginning of a new generation of air power for the RAAF.

“The multirole Super Hornet is an advanced, networked weapons system that provides a major leap in capability for the RAAF,” he said.

“The Super Hornet employs advanced networked sensors that provide its two aircrew with total situational awareness, enabling them to conduct simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground operations.”

The F/A-18F Super Hornet is a multirole aircraft that can take part in missions such as air superiority, day / night strike with precision-guided weapons and fighter escort.

It can also perform close air support, suppression of enemy air defences, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.

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In March 2007, the Australian Hovernment said it would acquire 24 Super Hornets to increase its joint strike fighter capability and replace its aging F-111 fleet.

The RAAF will receive the remaining 19 aircraft, each equipped with the Raytheon-built APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, through 2010 and 2011.