Navy asks Boeing to build 14 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft in $676.6 million deal

PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. Combat aircraft designers at the Boeing Co. are building 14 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet jet fighter-bombers for the U.S. Navy under terms of a $676.6 million U.S. Navy order announced Wednesday.

Navy asks Boeing to build 14 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft in $676.6 million deal
Navy asks Boeing to build 14 new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft in $676.6 million deal
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md.Combat aircraft designers at the Boeing Co. are building 14 new F/A-18E/FSuper Hornet jet fighter-bombers for the U.S. Navy under terms of a $676.6 million U.S. Navy order announced Wednesday.

Officials of the Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., are asking the Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment in St. Louis to build six single-seat F/A-18E jets and eight two-seat F/A-18F jets.

The twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter and light-attack F/A-18E/F combat jets are based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, which entered Navy squadrons in 1983, but are larger and more advanced derivatives. Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997; it has a larger wing and a longer fuselage to carry more fuel and more powerful engines.

The newest versions of the F/A-18 first flew in 1995, and entered Navy service in 1999. These aircraft replaced variants of the Navy's F-14 Tomcat jet fighters, A-6 Intruder medium-attack bombers, and S-3 Viking carrier-based maritime patrol jet.

The Super Hornet has an internal 20-millimeter M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. The planes can carry additional fuel in as many as five external fuel tanks. These plans also can function as airborne tankers with external air refueling systems.

Related: Navy orders 48 sophisticated electronic warfare jammers for Navy F/A-18 Hornet jet fighter-bombers

The new aircraft have improved active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, large displays, the joint helmet mounted cuing system, and several other avionics replacements. New-build aircraft received the APG-79 AESA radar in 2005.

The Super Hornet aircraft has a modern mission computer, and infrared search and track (IRST) electro-optical passive surveillance and targeting system.

The F/A-18E/F avionics suite features an up-front touchscreen control display; a large multipurpose color liquid-crystal display; and a fuel display. It has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire system, and digital flight-control system that detects and corrects for battle damage.

The aircraft has the AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system for search, track, and attack, as well as the AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) electro-optical sensor and laser designator pod.

Related: Navy Blue Angeles flight-demonstration team to trade-in old jets for new F/A-18E/F Super Hornets

The Super Hornet's communications equipment includes AN/ARC-210 VHF/UHF radio and a MIDS-JTRS low volume terminal for HAVE QUICK, SINCGARS, and Link 16 RF communications and tactical networking. Its defensive avionics have the AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver, the AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser, the AN/ALE-55 towed decoy, and the AN/ALQ-214 integrated defensive countermeasures (IDECM) system with internally mounted threat receivers and optional self-protection jammers.

The Super Hornet's Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) is a high-resolution, digital tactical aerial reconnaissance system with advanced day, nighttime, and all-weather capability.

The future Block III configuration of the Super Hornet, which will enter service in 2019, will have improved heads-up display and computer, called the Distributed Targeting Processor Network (DTPN), as well as a large display in the cockpit to help pilots monitor information. Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) will enable the aircraft to transmit and receive more data.

Related: Boeing to upgrade RF and microwave avionics on Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft

On this order Boeing will do the work in El Segundo, Torrance, Irvine, and Santa Clarita, Calif.; St. Louis; Fort Worth, Texas; Mesa, Ariz.; Vandalia, Ohio; Bohemia and Greenlawn, N.Y., and other U.S. locations, and should be finished by February 2019.

For more information contact Boeing Defense, Space & Security online at www.boeing.com/company/about-bds, or Naval Air Systems Command at www.navair.navy.mil.

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