The F/A-18 Hornet A/B, after 36 years of active service in the Royal Australian Air Force, has been retired. Replacing them are the F-35A Lightning IIs.

The F/A-18 Hornet A/B, after 36 years of active service in the Royal Australian Air Force, has been retired. Replacing them are the F-35A Lightning IIs. The first two F/A-18A/B Hornets arrived in Australia on June 6, 1984, partially disassembled inside a C-5 Galaxy from the U.S. Over the next three decades, 71 Hornets contributed to multiple operations and exercises thanks to the dedication of all airmen from No. 3, 75 and 77 Squadrons, and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit.

The Hornets, with two versions A single-seat and B two-seat, have been an integral part of Australia’s air combat capability for more than a third of the RAAF’s 100-year history, capable of performing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Two Royal Australian Air Force No. 77 Squadron F/A-18A Hornets taxi onto the Andersen Air Force Base runway during Exercise Cope North 20 in Guam.

Over the past 20 years, Hornets have served in multiple operations overseas and at home. In Operation Okra, F/A-18A/B Hornet squadrons flew 1,937 missions and more than 14,780 flight hours, delivering approximately 1,600 munitions.

The Australian Government has offered the Hornets for sale once they are no longer needed by the RAAF, and finalised a deal to sell 25 to Canada in early 2019. Eight F/A-18s will be preserved for historical purposes in Australia and the remainder may be sold to an American air combat training company.

The end of Hornet operations for No. 75 Squadron marks the beginning of a new chapter as the Australian Air Force transitions to the F-35A Lightning II.

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