Boeing Marks Retirement of Royal Australian Air Force F-111 Fleet

AMBERLEY, Queensland, Dec. 2, 2010 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] will bid a fond farewell to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F-111 strike fighters that the company has supported for more than 14 years when the fleet is retired on Dec. 3.

As prime contractor for F-111 through-life support activities since 1996, Boeing Defence Australia has designed, developed and delivered technologies and modifications to improve the operational effectiveness of the F-111 fleet from its facilities at RAAF Base Amberley. These upgrades included aircraft overhauls conducted under the F-111 Weapons System Business Unit (WSBU) contract.

Awarded to Boeing in 2001, the WSBU contract was the largest contract awarded by the Commonwealth of Australia at the time and covered all major upgrades to the fleet's airframe, avionics and weapons systems, including:

  • providing airframe maintenance from R1 (basic level) through R5 (deeper level)
  • providing system analysis, design, modification and testing
  • designing and integrating software and hardware to support the AGM-142 missile, the longest range air-to-ground missile available within the Australian Defence Force
  • modifying radar warnings.

Additional programs and facilities that Boeing has operated in support of the fleet include a fuel tank repair program, a coldproof load test facility, an F-111 ground test team, and a wing recovery program.

"Over the years, hundreds of Boeing employees have played a vital role in maintaining the operational effectiveness of the F-111 fleet and some, like me, have an even longer history with the platform after working on them during our time in the RAAF," said Ian Gabriel, F-111 program manager, Boeing Defence Australia. "On behalf of all Boeing personnel who supported the aircraft, it has been a privilege to have played a part in the rich military history of the F-111."

"Throughout Boeing's long association with the F-111, we've forged strong relationships with the RAAF, our supplier partners and the local Ipswich community," said John Duddy, vice president and managing director, Boeing Defence Australia. "This could not have been achieved without the consistency and commitment of the Boeing personnel who have worked on the platform, and I thank them all. As the F-111 retires and we enter a new generation of Australian air defense through the F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, Boeing looks forward to continuing to work with the RAAF to help protect Australia and its people."

Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, is a leading Australian aerospace enterprise. With a world-class team of more than 1,500 employees at 14 locations throughout Australia and two international sites, Boeing Defence Australia supports some of the largest and most complex defense projects in Australia.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

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Sarah Wills
Boeing Defence Australia
+1 (61) 7 3306 3132