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DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE

CPA 404/07 Monday, 29 October 2007

DEFENCE RESPONSE TO FOUR CORNERS

Defence rejects claims to be aired tonight by the Four Corners program that suggest Australia is conceding its crucial air superiority in the region by purchasing the F-18F Super Hornet.

Defence Spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic said: “Defence rejects any assertion that our air superiority would be compromised. The Super Hornet is a true multi-role aircraft that spans the air combat spectrum, including maritime strike that is so vital for Australia.

“The acquisition of 24 Super Hornets will ensure Australia’s air combat superiority well into the future and will enable us to maintain our edge in all aspects of air combat as the Air Force goes through the transition from the F-111 and Hornet to JSF.”

Group Captain Steve Roberton, Head of the Defence Air Combat Transition Office, reinforced the capability edge offered by the Super Hornet.

As one of Australia's most experienced fighter pilots, he said: “If a Super Hornet was to meet a Su-30 in the next 5-8 years and I had to bet my life on the outcome, I'll sit in the Super Hornet F-18F cockpit every time. Any pilot who has flown the new Block II F-18F with AESA radar would do the same.

“The Super Hornet will test any modern air defence system. The airframe is designed for signature reduction and the aircraft is built around the most advanced radar in any non-fifth generation aircraft in the world.

“Its advanced radar, weapons and electronic warfare suite make it a superb dogfighting system and it can defeat an enemy’s ability to shoot before the Super Hornet,” Group Captain Robertson said.

Brigadier Nikolic reinforced the importance of a complete capability package to support any advanced fighter aircraft. He said: “Reliable, sustainable logistics support, the best training and a full air combat system of command and control is required to defeat modern threats. No other aircraft can meet this requirement and complement Australia’s existing air combat system better than the F-18F Super Hornet.”



Issued by Coordination and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT