As the US Navy (USN) looks to deploy Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and develop next-generation missiles, the service is finding ways to stretch the service lives of its existing combat jets and cruise missiles.
The USN is extending the lives of its Boeing F/A-18 A-D Hornet and F/A-18E-F Super Hornet jets – as well as buying additional F/A-18E-Fs – to address F-35C development and delivery delays.
It is also stretching the service lives and improving the performance of its Tomahawk cruise missiles.
“Until F-35C aircraft are available in the required numbers, the navy plans to mitigate the inventory challenge with service-life extension of legacy F/A-18 A-D airframes to 8,000-10,000 hours,” the USN said in budget documentation for its fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) budget request, which was released on 12 February.
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