General Electric International Incorporated (GEII) has secured a multi-million dollar contract extension for maintenance of the F404 engine that powers the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) F/A-18 Classic Hornet fleet.
Valued at approximately $230m, the contract extension follows the Australian Air Force Chief's announcement to extend the Classic Hornet's service life out to 2022.
Australian Defence Minister Senator David Johnston said the mutual agreement on the price and requirements of the Classic Hornet contract extension follows successful negotiations between GEII and the Defence Materiel Organisation, and generates savings of $36m.
"In addition, the Australian component of the contract will continue to be subcontracted to TAE, creating continued employment for 90 personnel located at Williamtown, NSW, and Ipswich, Queensland," Johnston said.
"As the original equipment manufacturer of the Classic Hornet F404 and the Super Hornet F414 engines, GEII has held a contract with the DMO to provide sufficient engine maintenance and logistic support since 2008."
The planned withdrawal date for the Classic Hornet was June 2018, at the time of the original contract, with the drawdown period commencing on 01 July 2015.
The contract extension will ensure engine capability is maintained through to the revised Classic Hornet planned withdrawal date of 2022.
Produced by GE Aviation, the F404 is an afterburning turbofan engine in the 10,500-19,000 lbf (47-85 kN) class, and powers multiple aircraft performing a broad spectrum of missions from low-level attack to high-altitude interceptors.
The combat proven engine serves the US Navy, Marines and Air Force, and the armed forces of Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and South Africa.
Manufactured by Boeing, the F/A-18F Super Hornet gives RAAF an upgraded air combat capability for both air-to-air and air-to-ground mission until the full introduction into service of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF).
Image: A General Electric F404 engine being tested on the fantail aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Photo: courtesy of Jeremie M. Yoder.