New era for retired F/A-18 Classic Hornet at Australian War Memorial

Joint media release

  • Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, Member for Forrest, the Hon Nola Marino MP

An F/A-18 Classic Hornet that has served the Royal Australian Air Force with distinction over three decades has received one of the nation’s highest honours – a place in the National Collection at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

Defence, in association with Boeing Defence Australia, today officially handed over F/A-18 Classic Hornet, A21-022, to the War Memorial’s Treloar Technology Centre in Canberra.

The F/A-18 Classic Hornet, A21-022, will join other significant exhibits in the collection, including “G for George” – a Lancaster bomber that belonged to No. 460 Squadron RAAF Bomber Command during World War II.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said it was important to retain significant objects in the Memorial’s National Collection that reflect the Australian Defence Force’s proud service.

“This is an appropriate new home for F/A-18 Classic Hornet A21-022, which will be the first of two Classic Hornets to be honoured in such a way,” Minister Price said.

“With three operations in the Middle East under this Classic Hornet’s belt, it is a fitting tribute to the Classic Hornet jet, which has long been a favourite with RAAF pilots.”

A21-022 was retired on 14 May 2020 after completing 30 years in service, including 6131.5 flying hours with the RAAF.

F/A-18 Classic Hornet A21-022 was partially disassembled at RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW for road transport to Canberra.

“I would like to thank Boeing Defence Australia, which reassembled and prepared the aircraft at the AWM Treloar Technology Centre for display, for its work on this project,” Minister Price said.

Member for Forrest, the Hon Nola Marino MP, said it was an honour to attend today’s handover at the Memorial.

“This is the rightful home for this Classic Hornet jet and I feel privileged to have seen it brought here and given the recognition it deserves,” Ms Marino said.

F/A-18 Classic Hornet A21-022 was deployed on three Operations in the Middle East:

  • Operation Bastille from 16 February 2003 to 18 March 2003 (RAAF No. 75 Squadron);
  • Operation Falconer from 19 March 2003 to 3 May 2003 (RAAF No. 75 Squadron), conducting 20 combat missions; and
  • Operation Okra from October 2016 to May 2017 (RAAF No. 75 and No. 77 Squadrons) and conducted over 50 combat missions.

The second aircraft, F/A-18 Classic Hornet A21-040, is scheduled to be handed over in mid-2022.

The RAAF’s fleet of 71 F/A-18 Classic Hornets is being progressively withdrawn as the Australian Defence Force transitions to a fleet of 72 F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters.

The RAAF’s F-35A Lightning II the fifth-generation fighter will follow in the Classic Hornet’s footsteps.

Air combat power is a critical capability under the Force Structure Plan 2020 released in July 2020.

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