Boeing has received a three-year contract award from the U.S. Navy for 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter aircraft, the company announced.
This new multi-year contract benefits the U.S. Navy and Boeing by allowing both to schedule future production and Navy officials estimate this multi-year model saves a minimum of $395 million on this contract valued at approximately $4 billion.
“This multiyear contract will provide significant savings for taxpayers and the U.S. Navy while providing the capacity it needs to help improve readiness,” said Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. “A multiyear contract helps the F/A-18 team seek out suppliers with a guaranteed three years of production, instead of negotiating year to year. It helps both sides with planning, and we applaud the U.S. Navy on taking the appropriate steps needed to help solve its readiness challenges.”
The Block III configuration adds capability upgrades to the existing Block II aircraft that include enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, an advanced cockpit system and an enhanced communication system.
The most visible upgrade is the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs) which would bring more range, more persistence and less drag to the aircraft.
The aircraft is equipped with a Block II IRST system consisting of Lockheed Martin’s IRST21 sensor, the GE Aviation FPU-13 Fuel Tank Assembly and the Meggitt Defense Industry Environmental Control unit. There is also minor structural treatment to decrease Radar Cross Section (RCS) of the aircraft such as a redesigned muzzle as well as improved angle of attack sensors.
Boeing will begin converting existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III early in the next decade. The fighter’s life also will be extended from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours.