Boeing delivered the most advanced version of the F/A-18 Super Hornet to the Navy this month.
“Block III gives the Navy the most networked and survivable F/A-18 built with a technology insertion plan that will outpace future threats,” according to today’s press release from Boeing.
Boeing will build 78 F/A-18s with the Block III configuration for the Navy and deliver these capabilities through the mid-2030s.
The new capabilities include a “10-inch-by-19-inch touch screen display, enhanced networking, open mission systems, reduced radar signature and a 10,000-hour airframe,” the press release states.
Block III allows the jet to receive apps-based solutions to upgrade the aircraft, giving Navy pilots more situational awareness, Boeing said in the press release.
Also, Boeing will use Service-Life Modification lines to extend the life and upgrade the Block II Super Hornets to Block III, Boeing said.
In August, the House Armed Services Committee added $970 million to the F/A-18E/F program for 12 jets in the fiscal year 2022 budget.
Adm. Andrew Loiselle, the commander of Carrier Strike Group 4, said last month that the Navy doesn’t want any of these aircraft because new Super Hornets won’t be a suitable platform for the mission at the end of their 30-year service life.
"That takes us out to about 2055," Loiselle said. "There isn't a lot of analysis out there that supports fourth-generation viability against any threat in that timeframe. You have to juxtapose that with the capabilities a [Service Life Modernization] Block III will deliver."