Bridging Air Combat Capability — AIR 5349 Phase 1
Prime Contractor: Boeing Company, under a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) arrangement with the United States (US) Government.
2010/2011 spend: $493 million
This phase of the project will acquire 24 F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet multi-role aircraft and associated support systems and services. This will ensure that Australia’s air combat capability edge is maintained through the transition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter during the coming decade. Following successful testing and acceptance activities conducted by the US Navy (USN) in late 2009 and early 2010, five aircraft were ferried to Australia and arrived at RAAF Base Amberley on 26 March 2010 to commence operations. The remaining aircraft will be delivered to Australia by the end of 2011.
The project remains on schedule for declaration of IOC in December 2010 with FOC to be achieved in December 2012. Support of the aircraft will be achieved through a mix of US FMS support via the USN and via direct contract arrangements established in Australia.
RAAF aircrew and ground crew personnel successfully completed USN training in the USA throughout 2009 in preparation to operate and support initial deliveries of aircraft. Future training will be provided through a mix of direct commercial and in-house arrangements.
The acquisition and delivery of Super Hornet aircraft remains low risk. Delivery of logistics support to meet IOC requirements is medium risk but is being progressively reduced through access to USN support infrastructure.