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PICTURES: Australian Super Hornets release first JSOW missiles

Australia has for the first time tested the ability of its new Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets to use Raytheon's AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapon, as preparations continue to retire its remaining General Dynamics F-111 bombers.

Royal Australian Air Force Super Hornets released two JSOWs at the Woomera Test Range in South Australia against separate hardened concrete bunkers, destroying both. The work represented its first live firings performed outside of the USA with the two-seat strike aircraft.

Armed with a blast/fragmentation warhead, the AGM-154C has a maximum glide range of around 70nm (130km) when released from a height of 40,000ft (12,200m), Raytheon says.


All images © Australian Department of Defence

"This is a significant milestone," says Australian minister for defence materiel Jason Clare. "It means that Super Hornets are on track to become operational later this year. They will add to the fire power of our air force, taking our air capability to the next generation of fighter plane."

Three more of air force's eventual 24 F/A-18Fs will arrive in the country by the end of the year, taking its inventory to 14 of the type in Australia, Clare says.

The RAAF's remaining F-111s will be retired during the first week of December at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Australia's first two batches of Super Hornets arrived at the base in March and July this year.

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