Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornets have undergone their first major upgrade — the first stage of the Super Hornet Spiral Upgrade Program under which the fleet will receive incremental capability upgrades.
The job was finished on budget and two weeks ahead of schedule by the Electronic Attack Enterprise team, consisting of the RAAF, Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Boeing Defence Australia and Raytheon Australia.
The programme is being conducted in parallel with the US Navy F/A-18F upgrade programme to ensure the technology remains in line with the world’s only other Super Hornet operator.
The 12-month Increment 1 programme delivered updates to the aircraft training system, as well as to software and hardware. These included the installation of Navigation Warfare to provide GPS navigation protection, a Distributed Targeting System to enable precision targeting, and an upgraded Solid State Recorder for the cockpit.
Five separate structural modifications to improve fatigue life and eliminate hazards were incorporated with the hardware upgrades.
The RAAF has purchased a total of 24 Super Hornets, the last of which were delivered in 2011. The force also operates 71 F/A-18A/B Hornets.