The US Navy (USN) on 20 March awarded Boeing a three-year contract potentially worth USD4 billion for 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets, according to a company statement.
Boeing spokesperson Justin Gibson said on 21 March that the multi-year contract covers production for fiscal years 2019-21 (FY 2019-21), taking production through 2023. The first Block III aircraft, he said, will be delivered to the USN by the end of 2019.
Further domestic and international interest would extend the line. The contract is specifically for 61 F/A-18E single-seat models and 17 F/A-18F dual-seat variants. The USN requested USD1.9 billion in its FY 2020 budget request to acquire 24 E/F model aircraft.
Gibson said all Super Hornets under this contract will be Block III and, through new production and the service life modification (SLM) programme, Boeing will be delivering Block III Super Hornets to the navy through 2034.
The Block III configuration adds a variety of capability upgrades. Gibson said the aircraft has enhanced network capability thanks to its Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked (DTP-N) and Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) that allows for improved situation awareness and 3D target tracks for effective co-ordinated attack.
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