Workers at RAAF Base Williamtown will service and prepare up to 46 retired F/A-18 Classic Hornet aircraft that will be sold to air combat training company Air USA.

The Classic Hornet aircraft will be used to provide training services to the United States Air Force and will be prepared over the next three to four years.

Aircrew from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit after their last F/A-18 Hornet flight at RAAF Base Williamtown.

Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Melissa Price MP, said the work will provide employment certainty for workers in the NSW Hunter region.

The work to prepare these aircraft and components for sale will provide 24 direct industry jobs while Air Force transitions from the Classic Hornet to the F‑35 Joint Strike Fighter,” Minister Price said.

Apart from the jobs directly supported by the work at RAAF Base Williamtown, more defence industry jobs are expected to be created across Australia through repair and overhaul work on aircraft servicing components.”

The RAAF Classic Hornet fleet is being progressively retired as the Joint Strike Fighter F-35A Lighting II is introduced into service. The Commonwealth Government has taken delivery of 20 Joint Strike Fighters, out of a total order of 72.


On 11 Dec 19, Number 2 Operational Conversion Unit conducted its final F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet flight under the Unit’s banner. The mission represented a milestone in the phased-draw down of 2OCU Classic Hornet operations – which ceased in Dec 2019.

With this historic flight closing a significant chapter in Air Force history, fast-jet aircrew training at 2OCU continues with the training focussed on supporting fifth generation capabilities with the arrival and operational sustainment of the F-35A.

The RAAF F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet platform is planned to be withdrawn from service in Dec 2021, being replaced by the F-35A Lighting II.

Image ~ Photographer CPL Melina Young Copyright: © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence