The Super Hornet is the RAAF’s interim measure as Australia waits for its F-35s. As stopgaps go, the F/A-18F/G is not a bad choice, as Australia has apparently realised. The Super Hornet lacks the range and aerodynamic potential of the Su-30s owned by many of Australia’s regional neighbours, but its full range of air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities, combined with the very serious development effort the platform has recieved from the US Navy gives it a unique edge in a market crowded with good platforms, such as the Eurofighter, which cannot fund their own evolution. From integrated weapons to decoy technology to AESA radar, the Super Hornet is about as flush with capability as it can be.
Australia has not only announced its intention to buy 24 more Super Hornets, but it has confirmed that it will most likely retain a mixed fleet rather than moving to an all- F-35 force as originally planned. This new batch will carry AESA radar, a significant edge over most regional equivalents, and like the original batch of 24, twelve will be pre-wired for conversion to F/A-18G “Growler” configuration. The Growler is the West’s only dedicated electronic warfare aircraft, and its unique ability to jam even the most adaptive enemy radars and communications while leaving friendly aircraft unaffected makes it a potent addition to any force.