The Australian Government has signed a four-year contract extension with Boeing Defence Australia to maintain the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price MP welcomed the extension to the Air Combat Electronic Attack Sustainment Contract and said it was an endorsement of Boeing’s performance and support of local workers.
“The contract, valued at $280 million, provides highly-experienced maintenance, engineering, supply, project management, and weapon system integrator workforce to Defence,” Minister Price said. “This partnership continues to recognise Boeing’s commitment and performance in supporting these Air Force capabilities. Australian industry workforce is vital to the ongoing sustainment and regular upgrades critical to the Super Hornet and Growler capabilities.”
Through the Air Combat Electronic Attack Sustainment Program (ACEASP), Boeing provides logistics, maintenance, engineering and operational and capability upgrade management services to the RAAF. Over 90 per cent of the ACEASP Contract is being delivered by Australian industry by 230 Boeing Defence Australia and sub‑contractor personnel, based in the Amberley region.
Boeing’s ACEASP program manager Chris Gray said the contract extension means Boeing can continue to have “a significant impact on Australia’s defence capabilities” – and strengthen the company’s ability to build Australian industry capability.
“We thank Defence for granting us this important contract extension which enables us to continue our critical sustainment services for the RAAF’s fleet of F/A-18F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers,” Gray said. “Boeing’s role as platform steward gives us the opportunity to come to work and make a vital difference to Australia’s airpower capability.”
The RAAF has 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets and 11 EA-18G Growlers operated out of RAAF Base Amberley. The aircraft are tied in with the US Navy spiral development program, ensuring the platforms keep their capability edge.
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas (now produced by Boeing) based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet aircraft.
The F/A-18E is the single-seat variant and F/A-18F is the twin tandem-seat variant. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons.
The Super Hornet entered service with the U.S. Navy in 2001, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and serving alongside the original Hornet. The Super Hornet is also operated by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Kuwait Air Force has the aircraft on order.
Boeing EA-18G Growler
The Boeing EA-18G Growler, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet, is an American carrier-based electronic warfare (EW) aircraft. The Growler’s EW capability is primarily provided by Northrop Grumman.
The EA-18G began production in 2007 and entered operational service with the U.S. Navy in late 2009 replacing its Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler aircraft. Australia has also purchased twelve EA-18Gs, which entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 2017.