Boeing has completed deliveries of 24 F/A-18F Super Hornet Block II combat aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), with the last four examples having been welcomed during a 21 October ceremony at Amberley air base, Queensland.

The new arrivals joined 16 of the air force's in-service aircraft for a historic flypast, which the service described as having also presented "an important training exercise for operational planners and aircrew".

 20 Australian Super Hornets - Boeing

© Boeing

The RAAF's final four Super Hornets formed part of the 20-aircraft formation

Boeing handed over Australia's first five Super Hornets in March 2010, and said delivery of all 24 aircraft was completed ahead of time and under budget.

Nicknamed "Rhinos", the fleet was transferred in five batches from the USA, having been completed at the manufacturer's St Louis production facility in Missouri.

 Super Hornet formation - Commonwealth of Australia

© Commonwealth of Australia

Acquired as a stop-gap replacement to cover the period between the retirement of the RAAF's last General Dynamics F-111s in 2010 and the availability of its future Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, the Super Hornet is "proving to be invaluable as a true force multiplier", said Group Capt Steve Roberton, officer commanding the service's 82 Wing.

Australia's two-seat F/A-18Fs are assigned to the air force's 1 and 6 squadrons at Amberley.

Source: Flight International