The last F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets to undergo deeper maintenance servicing have rolled out of the Boeing Defence Australia facility at RAAF Base Williamtown.
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Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said that 150 jobs in the Hunter region had been supported through the deep service works, which were facilitated by Boeing Defence Australia.
“This was the 163rd and final deeper maintenance servicing for the Air Force Classic Hornet fleet since 2013,” Minister Price said.
“These operations have generated an additional 140,000 flying hours for the Classic Hornets and also contributed $200 million to the Australian economy.”
Boeing became the lead contractor for Classic Hornet logistics, engineering and maintenance services in 2017, following the expansion of the company’s existing Classic Hornet Sustainment Support contract.
Deeper maintenance servicing on the fleet of 75 Classic Hornets will no longer be necessary, with the model scheduled for withdrawal from service in December 2021. The Classic Hornet – which will have seen 36 years' of service by that point – is due to be replaced by the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.
The government has publicly offered the Hornets for sale once they are no longer needed by the RAAF, with a deal to sell 25 to Canada finalised back in early 2019. To that end, Minister Price said that Boeing will continue to assist Defence to prepare retired Classic Hornet aircraft for "heritage display within Australia and potential sale to foreign customers".
The continued efforts will provide a steady stream of jobs for the local Hunter region, “until there is a requirement for F-35A Lightning II sustainment which will also be based at RAAF Base Williamtown”.