A Boeing F/A-18A ‘Classic’ Hornet formerly operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has made its way by road to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

The aircraft, A21-022, is one of two Classic Hornets earmarked for display by the Australian War Memorial.

“This is a special aircraft for the RAAF,” says minister for defence industry Melissa Price.

“It employed the first Australian weapon on Operation Falconer in 2003, and was also deployed on Operation Okra in 2016-2017. It is very fitting that it will now spend its next life on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial.”

The fighter was retired in May after 30 years in service, during which it accumulated 6131.5h.

The partially disassembled jet was transported by truck, and will be formally handed over next month.

The Hornet has formed the backbone of the RAAF since the 1980s, but is being steadily replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35A.

Most of the RAAF’s Hornets, however, still have a future.

In March, Canberra announced that 46 F/A-18 A/B would be sold to Air USA, a firm that provides tactical airpower training services to the US military and international customers. 

In 2019, it was announced that 25 Hornets would be sold to Canada for A$95 million ($67.8 million). This is intended to fill a capability gap while Ottawa conducts a competition for a new fighter. Under this deal, 18 aircraft will be used as combat assets, and seven for spare parts and testing.