A distinctive F/A-18A Hornet painted with an Indigenous motif flew its last sortie from RAAF Base Williamtown on December 10.

The aircraft, with the tail number A21-023, was in RAAF service for more than 30 years and clocked up 5663.1 flying hours.

It is known as the Worimi jet as it honours the traditional owners of the land where RAAF Base Williamtown is located.

The aircraft’s artwork, added to the aircraft more than five years ago, was designed by Australian studio Balarinji and depicts Kilyarr Kilyarr, the wedge-tailed eagle.

Commander of Air Combat Group Air Commodore Timothy Alsop said the Worimi jet was a special aircraft for the RAAF and had made significant contributions to operations.

“At the 2015 Australian International Airshow at Avalon, then Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown unveiled the Worimi Hornet,” Air Commodore Alsop said.

“We respect the close working relationship RAAF Base Williamtown has developed over the past years with the Worimi community.

“It was an honour to have members of the Worimi community see the final flight of the Worimi jet.”

The aircraft also features the pilot markings of the late Warrant Officer Len Waters, Air Force’s first known Indigenous fighter pilot.

The F/A-18A/B Hornet aircraft are being gradually withdrawn from service as Air Force transitions to the F-35A Lightning II.

No. 77 Squadron at Williamtown will begin flying the F-35A next year.

The F/A-18A/B Hornets are deemed to be of heritage value and a number are being donated to key locations and museums around Australia. 

Aircraft A21-023 will be placed on display at the Fighter World Aviation Heritage Centre at RAAF Base Williamtown.