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New contract for F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III

The US Department of Defense has signed a contract with Boeing for the production of 17 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role aircraft in the latest Block III version.

On Tuesday, March 19th, the American NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) from Patuxent River, Maryland, on behalf of the US Department of Defense, signed a contract worth $1,137,300,000 (4.48 billion PLN) with Boeing for the production of 17 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multi-role aircraft in the latest Block III version. This is likely the last production contract for these aircraft for the domestic user.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III / Photo: Boeing

The contract includes the production of 10 two-seater F/A-18F Lot 46 aircraft and 7 aircraft of Lot 47, including 2 F/A-18F and 5 single-seater F/A-18E. The contract also covers the first phase of the F/A-18E/F technical data package and the electronic warfare and air defense suppression aircraft EA-18G, including maintenance, integration, and training data to support efforts to maintain operational readiness of the Super Hornets and Growlers in the US Navy.

The work will be performed in Hazelwood, Missouri (46.7%), El Segundo, California (35.8%), Bloomington, Maine (1.6%), Quebec, Canada (1.6%), Ridley Park, Pennsylvania (1.4%), Vandalia, Ohio (1.0%), as well as various locations within the continental United States (10.8%) and outside of it (1.1%), with completion scheduled for April 2027. The funds for the aircraft purchase come from the US Navy budget for fiscal year 2023 in the amount of $50 million and from the 2022 budget in the amount of $213,060,349 – these were activated upon signing the contract (the latter will expire at the end of fiscal year 2024). It is worth noting that components for the production of these lots of aircraft were ordered on June 1, 2023, under a $200 million contract.

On February 23, 2023, Boeing announced the initiation of preparations to conclude the serial production of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which was slated to occur in 2025 in the absence of new orders or in 2027 if another international contract were to be fulfilled. That contract was supposed to be the Indian Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) program for 26 carrier-based aircraft, but ultimately, authorities in New Delhi picked the French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale M as their choice.

Since the debut of the F/A-18 Hornet in 1983, Boeing has delivered over 2000 Hornets, Super Hornets, and Growlers to customers worldwide, including the US Navy, Australia, Canada, Finland, and most recently, Kuwait. Among these, more than 600 are Super Hornets and 172 are Growlers.

In the past few decades, Super Hornets have been unsuccessfully offered to Germany, Switzerland, Finland, and Canada, where they lost to the F-35A Lightning II. In previous decades, they were offered to Malaysia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Poland, Spain, the United States Marine Corps (USMC), Greece, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, South Korea, and Norway.


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