Defence has sold “up to 46” soon-to-be retired RAAF F/A-18 ‘classic’ Hornets to a commercial air combat training company in America.
CAPTION: A No. 77 Squadron F/A-18A Hornet taxis at Andersen Air Force Base during Exercise Cope North 20 in Guam. Photo by Corporal David Said.
Air USA – a US government contractor that provides a range of tactical aircraft services to US defense agencies, defense contractors and foreign governments – will (apparently) buy most of the ‘classic’ Hornets Australia hasn’t yet sold to Canada.
The aircraft will be used to provide training services – in the form of ‘enemy’ aircraft – on exercises such as Red Flag, Cope North etc to the United States Air Force and allies training in the USA.
At least that’s what we are interpreting from today’s press release from Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price who’s main focus was to talk up how many jobs would be sustained at RAAF Base Williamtown over the next three to four years while the aircraft are prepared for the sale and export.
Minister Price said the work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale would provide 24 direct industry jobs while RAAF transitions from the ‘classic’ Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Apart from the jobs directly supported by the work at RAAF Base Williamtown, more defence-industry jobs are expected to be created across Australia through repair and overhaul work on aircraft servicing components,” Minister Price said.
Minister Price didn’t say how much Air USA was paying for their new fleet of F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornets or when deliveries would start.
In fact, her press release, which was actually ‘about’ jobs, was the only information on this topic…
…no wait, there were some very interesting points made on Facebook…
“Anyone done the maths? Canada is buying 25, Air USA is getting “up to 46″…that equals 71, so potentially none for museums,” one knowledgeable wag said.
Many others point out that up to eight or even 12 aircraft had been promised to museums and RAAF bases – presumably promised by the very same politicians who today announced the imminent influx of a wad of cash [of undisclosed thickness].
Good luck with that! 🙂
BTW – and just as a footnote – Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price also said “The Morrison Government has now taken delivery of 20 Joint Strike Fighters, out of a total order of 72”. Not the RAAF – not the Australian Defence Force – not Capability and Sustainment Group – not the taxpayers of Australia – “The Morrison Government has now taken delivery…”
. . .