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US approves $101 mn FMS from Australia for RAAF F/A-18F upgrades.

| 2017
World Aviation Defense & Security News - Australia
US approves $101 mn FMS from Australia for RAAF F/A-18F upgrades
The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia for upgrades for the RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft for an estimated cost of $101.4 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on July 11.
Two RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets from No 1 Squadron and United States Navy EA-18G Growler from VAQ-132 "Scorpion" Squadron flying off the coast of Rockhampton
(Credit: Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Defence)
According to DSCA's announcement, Australia requested the possible sale of 32 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) with four channel Concurrent Multi-Network (CMN-4), and 39 AN/ALQ-214A(V)4 Countermeasure Systems. This will also include all system integration and testing, component improvement, test and tools equipment upgrades, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $101.4 million.

"This sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major contributor to political stability, security, and economic development in the Western Pacific. Australia is an important Major non-NATO Ally and partner that contributes significantly to peacekeeping and humanitarian operations around the world," the DSCA said.

"The proposed sale will improve Australia’s capability in current and future coalition efforts. This equipment will help the Royal Australian Air Force better communicate with and protect its F/A-18 aircraft, and the addition of MIDS JTRS will accomplish the goal of making U.S. and Australian aircraft more interoperable when supporting operational forces," the Agency added.

The prime contractors will be the Harris Corporation, Melbourne, FL.

The Royal Australian Air Force currently flies 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets, which will ensure that Australia's air combat capability edge is maintained until the full introduction into service of the planned F-35A Lightning II. The F/A-18F Super Hornet achieved Final Operational Capability in December 2012.

The F/A-18F Super Hornets are based at Number 1 and Number 6 Squadrons at RAAF Base Amberley. They have recently participated in a range of exercises and operations including Exercise Pitch Black in the Northern Territory, Exercise Bersama Shield on the Malaysian Peninsula, and Operation OKRA in the Middle East.



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