Australia's defence minister has confirmed that the first flight of its air force's new Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets into their home base will be on 26 March.

Canberra is acquiring 24 Super Hornets, and the first batch of five will arrive at the Royal Australian Air Force's base in Amberley, Queensland, says John Faulkner, who plans to witness the event.

"Five Super Hornets have departed NAS Lemoore in California after extensive preparations, including acceptance flights and ground tests," Faulkner says.

Australia F/A81E/F
 © Boeing

"While air-to-air refuelling is occurring, the long journey to Australia involves several stops, including Hawaii and New Zealand."

The 24 Super Hornets on order "will arrive at RAAF Amberley progressively during 2010 and 2011", the minister says. The aircraft will "provide a bridging capability during the transition to the [Lockheed Martin] F-35 Joint Strike Fighter", Faulkner adds.

Source: Flight International