The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed Congress on Feb. 6 that it is proposing to sell 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft to Australia, in a deal valued at $3.1 billion including related equipment and services.
The announcement comes only days after Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said in a Feb. 1 statement that "A risk mitigation strategy being analysed is to obtain 24 Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft to ensure Australia's air combat capability edge is maintained" pending delivery of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Initial Operational Capability of the first squadron of JSF is expected in 2014/2015, Nelson said, adding that despite widespread criticism "our analysis supports the original assessment that the JSF is the most suitable aircraft for Australia's needs."
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement said that, in addition to the 24 F-18Es, Australia has requested 48 installed and 6 spare engines as well as the following equipment and weapons:
- 24 AN/APG-79 radar systems
- 24 AN/USQ-140 Multifunctional Informational Distribution System Low Volume Terminals
- 30 AN/ALR-67(V)3 Electric Warfare Countermeasures Receiving Sets
- 145 LAU-127 Guided Missile Launchers
- 30 AN/PVS-9 night vision goggles
- Integration of the AN/ALE-47 Electronic Warfare Countermeasures Systems
- 12 Joint Mission Planning Systems
- AN/ALE-55 Fiber Optic Towed Decoys.
"Also included are system integration and testing, software development/integration, test sets and support equipment, spare and repair parts, maintenance and pilot training, software support, publications and technical documents," the DSCA statement said.
Source: DSCA notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia of F-18 E/F Aircraft
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