Australia wants more F-18 Super Hornets
Australia is seeking to buy 24 more F-18 Super Hornet aircraft in a deal that would double the size of the Australian air force F-18 fleet.
Boeing builds the Super Hornets and the Australian air force already has 24 of the jets.
Australia's Ministry of Defense is concerned about a capability gap if the increasingly expensive Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters are delayed.
Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said that possibility led the government was looking at the longer-term use of the F-18 Super Hornets, The Australian reported Friday.
The newspaper said the government had formally requested whether the United States would agree to sell Australia two dozen more F-18s.
Smith noted that the letter would simply open the way for approval under the U.S. foreign military sales process should the F-18 Hornets be needed, and as a simple letter of inquiry, would not commit Australia to buying the aircraft.
Smith concluded, "...people look more generally at the longer-term utility of Super Hornets... in combination with the Joint Strike Fighter."
F/A-18F Super Hornet
The Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18F Super Hornet gives Australia 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).
The F/A-18F Super Hornets are larger than the classic model with many detail improvements. The aircraft's increased wing area allows them to carry more stores further on their extra hardpoints. They are easily recognised by their rectangular air intakes.
Air Force has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, which will ensure that Australia's air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction into service of the planned F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
The F/A-18F Super Hornet achieved Final Operational Capability in December 2012.
Source: SURRY HILLS, Australia, UPI News - 14 December 2012
Photo: The Royal Australian Air Force F-18 Super Hornet Fighter Aircraft (Photo by airforce.gov.au)