PICTURES: Australia receives second batch of Super Hornets

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The Royal Australian Air Force has received its second batch of Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets. The six aircraft arrived at Amberley airbase in Queensland at the end of a four-day journey from NAS Lemoore in California.

"The Super Hornet acquisition project continues to be a major success. It is delivering a quantum leap in air combat capability to the air force," says defence minister John Faulkner. The programme is also "on-time and on-budget", he adds.

Boeing has now delivered 12 of the RAAF's eventual 24 F-model Super Hornets. The first of these, registered A44-201, remains in the USA undergoing advanced software development trials with the US Navy.

raaf f/a-18 hornets, australian department of defence 

raaf f/a-18 hornet, australian department of defence

Both images © Australian Department of Defence

This work is expected to conclude later this year, with the aircraft to then be ferried to Australia before December.

The RAAF said earlier this year that it expects its entire Super Hornet fleet to have been delivered by October 2011.

Faulkner says 1 Sqn's transition from operating the General Dynamics F-111 to the F/A-18F "has delivered a new and potent air combat capability that will serve Australia for many years to come".

Separately, the RAAF's 38 Sqn has received its last of eight Beechcraft King Air 350 light transports (below) at Townsville, Queensland. Serving as an interim replacement for the service's retired de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribous, the aircraft are operated under a lease agreement with Hawker Pacific.

 
© Australian Department of Defence

Minister for defence materiel and science Greg Combet says the new type "delivers the opportunity for the air force to train new pilots and technicians on an aircraft with modern avionics and turboprop engines, and then transition these personnel to bigger and more complex platforms."

These include the Boeing C-17, 737-based Wedgetail airborne early warning and control system, Lockheed Martin C-130J and soon the Airbus Military A330/KC-30A multi-role tanker/transport.