Address to welcome the arrival of the Super Hornet fighter jets – RAAF Base Amberley

Address to welcome the arrival of the Super Hornet fighter jets

RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland

Friday 21 October, 2011

***Check against delivery***

United States Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Jeffrey Bleich. Senator Gary Humphries, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Materiel. Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown. Councillor Paul Pisasale, Mayor of the City of Ipswich. Mr Warren King, Acting CEO of the Defence Materiel Organisation. Mr Dennis Muilenburg. Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Defense, Space and Security. Mr Ian Thomas, President of Boeing Australia & South Pacific. Rear Admiral Donald Gaddis, Program Executive Officer – Tactical Aircraft Programs United States Navy. Ladies and gentlemen.

Today is a big day for Air Force – it’s a big day for Ipswich, it’s a big day for Queensland, it’s a big day for Australia.

This is the new frontline of the Australian Defence Force.

It was a very sad day here in December when we farewelled the mighty F-111s.

But today, is proof that we made the right decision.

In less than two years, all 24 Super Hornets have arrived – on budget and ahead of schedule.

We spend a lot of money in Defence.

This is a $6 billion project over 10 years. It is money well-spent.

This project is a great success story and there a lot of people to thank.

First, the men and women of the Royal Australian Air Force, on the ground and in the air.

The team at Defence and in DMO who managed the project.

The team at Boeing – here in Australia and in the US.

Boeing’s partners, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Raytheon.

The United States Government.

And can I personally acknowledge the work Ambassador Bleich on this and many other things we do together.

I also pay credit to the former Minister for Defence Brendan Nelson who made the decision to buy these planes, when the success of today was not so easy to see.

The Super Hornets would not be in Australia if not for the decision that he made four-and-a-half years ago.

The Super Hornet gives us the fire power we need to protect Australian skies until the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter later this decade.

Today we know that until that day comes we are in good hands.