The total value of the US Foreign Military Sales contract, including associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support would amount to roughly $3.7 billion.
If the aircraft are indeed acquired, they would join 24 two-seat F/A-18F already in service and another 71 of the older F/A-18, which are now in the process of being upgraded.
Those Super Hornet aircraft were originally acquired as a gap filler between the retirement of the F-111 in 2010 and the arrival of the F-35 in 2014. Delays and other F-35 problems have now postponed this schedule by several years.
Australia had been expected to acquire 100 F-35, but that number is now in doubt and may be reduced substantially. This has already happened in other countries such as Italy, which has already cut the number of F-35 it plans to acquire.
Australia is also one of the eight partner countries of the US in the F-35 program. By helping fund development of the F-35, it is entitled to a share of the work worth billions.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is an enlarged version of the F/A-18 and has:
- a length of 18.31 m
- a wingspan of 13.62 m
- a height of 4.88 m
- an empty weight of 14550 kg
- a maximum takeoff weight of 29940 kg
The EA-18G Growler is a specialized electronic warfare version of the two-seat F/A-18F, which can be fitted with:
- AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar
- AN/ALQ-218 wideband receivers on the wingtips
- ALQ-99 high and low-band jamming pods
- AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles
- AGM-88 HARM missiles