Air USA, a private contractor that offers “red air” adversary support, is buying up to 46 soon-to-be-retired F/A-18A/B Hornets from the Royal Australian Air Force.
The US-based air combat training company will receive 46 aircraft, which will be used to provide a range of training services to the US Air Force (USAF).
on Mar. 5, 2020, the Australian Department of Defense announced the “disposal” of the jets.
Prior to delivery, the Hornets will be repaired, or serviced and prepared, at RAAF Base Williamtown. This is expected to take approximately three to four years. Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) personnel at RAAF Base Williamtown will be responsible for preparing the aircraft for their transfer to Air USA. Williamtown, which is situated just north of the city of Newcastle, is home to three of the four remaining Australian F/A-18A/B units, No. 3 and No. 77 Squadrons and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit, the latter of which is responsible for training pilots on the type. No. 75 Squadron is based at RAAF Base Tindal in Australia’s Northwestern Territory.
“The work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale will provide 24 direct industry jobs while Air Force transitions from the Classic Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter,” Melissa Price, Australia’s present Minister for Defence Industry, said in a statement. “Apart from the jobs directly supported by the work at RAAF Base Williamtown, more defense industry jobs are expected to be created across Australia through repair and overhaul work on aircraft servicing components.”
Under the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter programme, the RAAF has plans to procure up to 72 F-35As.
Out of the total fighter jets on order, 20 have been delivered so far. The 72 aircraft will be shared by three operational squadrons at RAAF bases Williamtown and Tindal, and a training squadron at Williamtown.
In December last year, the RAAF accepted the delivery of seven F-35A fighter aircraft as the latest delivery.