SHAH ALAM: Oz maintenance work for Hornets. At the Singapore Airshow 2020, a briefing by the 22nd Squadron revealed that they will be sending an F/A-18D Hornet to Australia for maintenance work. After some checking I was informed that the maintenance work is actually for the whole fleet with two aircraft undergoing the programme at the Boeing Australia facility at RAAF Williamtown, where RAAF Hornets are being maintained.
Jane’s understands that the maintenance work in Australia, which is expected to be completed in four years, will mainly involve work being done on the Hornets’ airframe and engines, although the aircraft are also expected to be fitted with new cockpit displays, a tactical datalink and associated hardware.
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It must be noted that with the maintenance work done in Australia, the fleet is expected to stay in service until 2035 as under the current plans. RMAF had wanted to do it locally but apparently such deep maintenance work – where the whole aircraft and components are stripped down to the bone- could only be done at a Boeing facility. Apparently we have better luck with the Sukhois (though in fairness, none of the Sukhoi people or Irkut have done such work before)
If you remember, the last time the Hornets underwent such programme was from 2011 to 2015 and we got a certificate for it from Boeing. As part of the MLU, 18th Squadron Hornets also received Boeing JHMC, integration with AIM-9X Sidewinder and JDAM and as well as a new targetting pod, the ATFLIR.
As mentioned in the Jane’s story, we will not be replacing the Hornet’s APG-73 radar with an AESA one. I was told we were offered but declined due to cost issues. It must be noted that the issue about cost its not just about the Hornets we currently have but also the ones we are looking at seriously, the Kuwaiti Hornets. If indeed we actually move on them, funds must be available to ensure commonality with the current ones in service.
— Malaysian Defence