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Australia Advances F-18 Hornet Upgrade

Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP announced today that Australia’s air capability has been further enhanced by the successful trialling of a new radar warning receiver and acceptance by Air Force of the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) ‘Smart Bomb’.

The first production configured F/A-18 Hornet fitted with a new Radar Warning Receiver has successfully flown at RAAF Williamtown, only 18 months after the decision to acquire the equipment.

As part of the Hornet upgrade program, Australia’s fleet of F/A-18 aircraft are being fitted with upgraded Radar Warning Receivers, countermeasures systems and radar jamming systems.

Earlier this year the Royal Australian Air Force accepted the Operational and Technical Airworthiness of the JDAM ‘smart-bomb’ on F/A-18A/B fighter aircraft.

The JDAM ‘smart-bomb’ provides RAAF F/A-18A/B fighters with a state-of-the-art weapon capability, allowing them to accurately employ air-to-ground weapons during day or night and in all weather conditions through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

“These upgrades to the F/A-18 Hornet will provide the Royal Australian Air Force with leading-edge technology, ensuring the Hornet’s continued ability to operate as Australia’s frontline fighter aircraft,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The JDAM ‘smart-bomb’ will provide the Air Force with greatly improved accuracy and weapon effectiveness, reducing the likelihood of collateral damage during offensive operations.

“The upgrade to the Hornet’s Radar Warning Receiver is a significant achievement for the Defence Materiel Organisation as it has only been 18 months since the Raytheon ALR-67(V)3 Radar Warning Receiver was approved as part of the Hornet’s Electronic Warfare Self Protection upgrade.”

During the 18 months since approval, the project acquired the Radar Warning Systems, completed the design, integration and testing required to install and operate the new system on the Hornet. The project is within budget and on-track to deliver the complete electronic warfare self protection upgrade to the entire Hornet fleet by late 2012.

“Given the complexity of the project, the ability to deliver within schedule and budget has been a big success for the Defence Materiel Organisation,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Successful Upgrades to F/A-18 Hornet Capability