Boeing Defence Australia has delivered the last of eight F/A-18 Classic Hornets prepared under a heritage project to display the retired aircraft at RAAF bases and aviation museums across Australia. The unveiling of Classic Hornet A21-101 at the RAAF Association (WA) Aviation Heritage Museum of Western Australia at Bull Creek on 12 April was the culmination of the two-year project by BDA’s Classic Hornet Sustainment Support (CHSS) team.
Each of the heritage Hornets – single-seat A models A21-022, A21-023, A21-029, A21-032, A21-040 and A21-043 plus the two-seat B models A21-101 and A21-103 – were identified as important heritage aircraft for the Australian War Memorial and the Air Force Collection for their significance to Australia’s military aviation history.
The multi-stage preparation of each jet started with the removal of military software information, hardware and chemicals for safety and security reasons, before dismantling. Next, the wingless fuselage was lifted by crane onto the back of a semi-trailer for road transportation along with 22 boxes containing the wings and all other parts. Under the final stage, a team of six technicians spent approximately five weeks reassembling each aircraft at its new home.
“Many on our team have worked in both the RAAF and at Boeing for years, if not decades, supporting the Classic Hornets, which has fuelled their passion for this project,” said BDA’s CHSS Program Manager and RAAF veteran Gail Collie. “The team used their skills and expertise to return these remarkable jets to their former glory so they can be honoured for their decades of service to Australia and its allies. We all feel privileged to have been part of such an important program that is preserving them for posterity.”
Amy List, director of BDA’s Sustainment Operations said the Australian Classic Hornet story exemplifies Boeing’s platform life-cycle capability. “As the original equipment manufacturer, our heritage companies built the Hornets and introduced them into service; then, for more than 23 years, we worked in partnership with the RAAF and local industry to upgrade, modify and maintain them. We also performed all end-of-service-life disposal activities, including preparing 20 jets for sale to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the eight for the Australian heritage project. It’s an excellent case study in how Boeing’s cradle-to-grave platform sustainment solutions enhance our customer’s air defences and help ensure their frontline assets retain their capability edge for many decades.”
The RAAF’s fleet of 71 Classic Hornets were retired from operational service in December 2021 after nearly 40 years of service.
“We also performed all end-of-service-life disposal activities, including preparing 20 jets for sale to the Royal Canadian Air Force and the eight for the Australian heritage project. It’s an excellent case study in how Boeing’s cradle-to-grave platform sustainment solutions enhance our customer’s air defences and help ensure their frontline assets retain their capability edge for many decades.” 28 of 71, conveniently ignoring the balance, what about them?
Thanks. That’s an interesting thought.
Yes, quite a few people have suggested that – and it would seem a far more productive way for them to finish up rather than sitting on top of a large metal pole somewhere. However, there would be a large support and training burden. But if Ukraine wanted them – rather than focusing on F-16s – why not? The same can be said for Army’s M1A1 MBTs.