Australian F/A-18 history/heritage – SOLD

Some say an ex-RAAF F/A-18 ‘classic’ Hornet was promised to the Australian War Memorial to join the national heritage collection commemorating Australia’s recent involvement in the Middle East.

VIDEO SCREENGRAB: An image capture from the Australian War Memorial’s grand expansion-plans video, showing an RAAF F/A-18A [or is it? – see below] on prominent display.

In fact, the Australian War Memorial’s flash PR video promoting its new $500 million expansion plans features an F/A-18A soaring in the air inside a very expensive glass-roofed atrium.

Other people suggest that up to 12 F/A-18 ‘classic’ Hornets were ‘promised’ to various heritage and gate-guardian collections around the country.

Yesterday’s news of a fleet-sized sale of aircraft, however, seems to suggest that there will not be any F/A-18 ‘classics’ left in Australia for heritage – not even for the Australian War Memorial.

Having already sold 25 F/A18s to Canada, the Morrison Government yesterday pulled the rug from under history buffs by announcing the balance of the fleet was sold to a military contractor in the USA.

Although ‘announcing a sale’ is not strictly true. Yesterday’s announcement was that of coincidental employment, saying how Defence-industry jobs in the Hunter region were secured (for four more years) as the Hornet fleet was polished up and prepared for export.

And, in case there’s any doubt about heritage-collection availability – here’s the maths…

RAAF had a fleet of 71 F/A-18A and F/A18B Hornets. “Up to 25” (politician-speak for exactly 25 unless something goes wrong and we need some politically expedient wriggle room) of those were sold to Canada – 18 to join that country’s flying fleet, with the rest for spares and training. Yesterday’s announcement was that “up to 46” aircraft have been sold to Air USA – a US government contractor that provides a range of tactical aircraft services to US defense agencies, defense contractors and foreign governments.

To spell it out simples for the meerkats – that’s 71 aircraftz minus 25 aircraftz minus 46 aircraftz equals zero aircraftz left in Australia for any purpose whatsoever.

Maybe the promises of heritage-collection aircraft were ‘non-core promises’ or perhaps they were ‘notional’ promises.

Or maybe it’s simples to expect that politician promises of heritage ‘donations’ will always be trumped by US$ – and Canadian$ – especially in these times of corona-virus budget-surplus squeeze.

Or, maybe you just can’t trust a politician’s promise until you actually see an F/A-18 spiked atop a pole with said politician getting his/her photo taken for the papers as the hero of the hour.


On a side note – given that the AWM’s illustrated F/A-18 is marked as previously belonging to American Strike Fighter Squadron 94 – “The Mighty Shrikes” – maybe there’s a secret deal to bring a US Navy jet in on the cheap as a representative of the type?






sir_jeffrey_blog_logoAnother comment from resident crankyman Sir Jeffrey Armiger – a retired Public Servant with a pet hate for BE (bovine excrement).


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or view his previous diatribes here.






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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

One thought on “Australian F/A-18 history/heritage – SOLD

  • 08/03/2020 at 3:02 pm

    Well that sux. I know the Aviation heritage museum in Darwin was trying to get one. The War Memorial should at least get one.


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