Above: US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets being upgraded on the service life modification line in St Louis on January 7. The company has been awarded a contract to modernise a further ten. Boeing
BOEING IS to upgrade a further ten US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets under a new deal awarded by US Naval Air systems Command. The $163,907,829 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to a previously awarded, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the service life modification (SLM) of these aircraft was awarded to Boeing on May 17. The SLM will extend the operational service life of the aircraft from 6,000 flight hours to an extended service life of 10,000 flight hours. Work is expected to be completed in 2021.
The initial one-year contract includes a further one-year option for fiscal year 2020 which would cover up to 35 aircraft. It also funds the stand-up of a second SLM line in San Antonio, Texas, complementary to the line established last year in St. Louis. Dave Sallenbach, programme director, said: “The Service Life Modification programme is making great strides as we’ve already inducted seven Super Hornets into the programme and will deliver the first jet back to the Navy later this year. This programme is crucial in helping the Navy with its readiness challenges, and will continue to grow each year with the number of jets we induct.”
The San Antonio SLM line is scheduled to receive its first Super Hornet in June and a total of 23 Super Hornets over the course of this contract. The US Navy fleet consists of more than 550 Super Hornets. In the early 2020s, Boeing is scheduled to begin installing initial updates to the aircraft that will convert existing Block II Super Hornets to a new Block III configuration. The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 in active service for decades to come.