Boeing announced July 11 that its Australian Super Hornet Intermediate Level Maintenance facility at Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley in Queensland is fully operational.
The first-of-type ILM facility provides local engineering and supply chain support to meet the operational flying demands of the RAAF’s 24 F/A-18F fighter jets. A total of nine sustainment workshops have been completed to date.
“This milestone marks an important element in the successful transition of Australia’s Super Hornet acquisition program to a sustainment system that is delivering timely, localized technical support to the RAAF’s No. 82 Wing,” said Kim Gillis, managing director, Boeing Defence Australia. “Boeing has worked alongside the Tactical Fighter System Program Office to rapidly establish critical air combat support capabilities, and we are now focused on maturing our capabilities to further enhance aircraft availability and efficiency.”
“The achievement of this milestone is testament to the effective partnership between Defence Materiel Organisation and Boeing which has seen the Super Hornet and the ILM facility delivered on time and on budget,” said Air Commodore Axel Augustin, Director General Aerospace Combat Systems, DMO.
The ILM facility supports the Super Hornet’s external fuel tank/aerial refueling pod, avionics, life-support and alternate-mission equipment, structures, wheels and tires, and hydraulics, as well as aircraft washing. Boeing also supports the aircraft through its integrated sustainment capabilities at RAAF Base Amberley, including composite repairs, a paint shop, and a non-destructive testing workshop.
“The Australian F/A-18 sustainment system, managed in partnership with Boeing and the TFSPO, combines local industry expertise with U.S. capabilities based in St. Louis,” said Glen Ferguson, Aerospace Support program manager for BDA. “The system also integrates the U.S. Navy’s established support networks to sustain mission readiness and reduce support costs for the RAAF’s Super Hornet fleet.”
Australia became the first international Super Hornet customer in 2007. Since the RAAF aircraft first entered service, Boeing has provided pre- and post-deployment support during several international air combat exercises, most recently Exercise COPE North in Guam.