Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019 Hornets Nest!

RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighters have graced Australian skies since 1985 and more recently have seen plenty of combat service in the Middle East but are coming to the end of their service life. It will be sad to see the “Classic Hornets” go in the next few years as they are replaced by the Fifth Generation Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters (retirement and replacement has already slowly begun).

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet A21-21 was delivered in 1988 and served with RAAF No. 77 Squadron but since 2004 has flown with No. 3 Squadron - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet A21-21 was delivered in 1988 and served with RAAF No. 77 Squadron but since 2004 has flown with No. 3 Squadron – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019. Alongside is an RAAF BAE Hawk 127 lead-in fighter trainer
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornets alongside a new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II prepare to taxi out for take-off at Avalon 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornets alongside a new Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II prepare to taxi out for take-off at Avalon 2019
Changing of the guard - The RAAF has begun to transition from the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet multi-role fighter to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
Changing of the guard – The RAAF has begun to transition from the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet multi-role fighter to the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF 2OCU
RAAF 2OCU “Tiger” McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet two-seater combat trainer commemorating Hornet operations from 1985 to 2019 – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019

Although not yet the swansong of the F/A -18 Hornet, we were fortunate that the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019 prominently featured many appearances of the “Classic Hornet” in both static and flying displays! The four ship formation displays were a real highlight.

Classic Hornets - RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
Classic Hornets – RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
Operational since 1985 it is going to be sad to see RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighters retire over the next few years – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation pass – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
Classic Hornet clean and dirty pass - RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
Classic Hornet clean and dirty pass – RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A/B Hornet multi-role fighter formation – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF No. 33 Squadron Airbus KC-30A MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) refuels a pair of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
High overhead an RAAF No. 33 Squadron Airbus KC-30A MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) refuels a pair of McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighters – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
A unique formation - RAAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 A/B Hornets with a USAF Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2919 (Friday)
A unique formation – RAAF Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 A/B Hornets with a USAF Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019 (Friday)
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet multi-role fighter - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet multi-role fighter – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet two-seat combat trainers after their flight display at the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF McDonnell Douglas F/A-18B Hornet two-seat combat trainers after their flight display at the Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019

Luckily the Hornet styling will remain for many years in the form of more recent Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (“Rhino”) multi-role fighters and Boeing E/A-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft that are both in RAAF service. Interestingly neither flew during the public days of Avalon 2019 (March 1st to 3rd).

RAAF No. 1 Squadron Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (
RAAF No. 1 Squadron Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (“Rhino”) multi-role fighter – the type entered RAAF service in 2010 – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF No. 1 Squadron Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (
RAAF No. 1 Squadron Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet (“Rhino”) multi-role fighter – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF No. 6 Squadron Boeing E/A-18G Growler (A46-303) electronic attack aircraft fitted with ALQ-99 Low and High band jamming pods and armed with AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM) - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF No. 6 Squadron Boeing E/A-18G Growler (A46-303) electronic attack aircraft fitted with ALQ-99 Low and High band jamming pods and armed with AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM) – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019. Note the fanged air intake covers!
RAAF No. 6 Squadron Boeing E/A-18G Growler (A46-303) electronic attack aircraft fitted with ALQ-99 Low and High band jamming pods and armed with AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM) - Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019
RAAF No. 6 Squadron Boeing E/A-18G Growler (A46-303) electronic attack aircraft fitted with ALQ-99 Low and High band jamming pods and armed with AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missiles (AARGM) – Avalon Australian International Airshow 2019

There was also a Friday night show which will feature in my next post. A Hornet flew during the night display in all its afterburning glory!

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