Boeing Finishes F/A-18 Super Hornet Upgrade Early

Boeing [NYSE: BA] has successfully completed the upgrade and life extension of the first two service life modification (SLM) F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets, delivering them to the U.S. Navy ahead of schedule. The delivery from St. Louis was one month early, while the delivery from San Antonio was two months early. These upgraded jets possess the same capabilities as those being delivered from Boeing’s new-build production line.

Our success in meeting the accelerated timeline is proof our service life modification game plan is working,” said Faye Dixon, Boeing SLM director. “Thanks to our years of learning on the program and our partnership with the Navy, the F/A-18 Super Hornet remains at the forefront of defense technology with renewed years of service to support the fleet.

Boeing, in collaboration with the Navy, has enhanced productivity, completing Block III upgrades ahead of the 15-month contract requirement. This achievement was facilitated by:

  • Establishing a baseline for the condition of Block II F/A-18s received at Boeing, and the Navy’s preparatory work on the jets.
  • Sharing information and best practices across multiple SLM sites to improve efficiency, manage workload distribution, and optimize resource allocations.

Great measures were taken by the Boeing and Navy teams to ensure these are the safest and most capable Block III F/A-18s we can give our warfighters,” said Mark Sears, Boeing Fighters vice president. “These are just the first of many deliveries, with around 15 years of SLM deliveries to go. Our warfighters are counting on us to get this right every time.

Block III upgrades include a large area display and more powerful computing through Tactical Targeting Network Technology and a Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked open mission systems processor. The work is being done at Boeing sites in St. Louis and San Antonio, and at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest in San Diego.

Boeing and the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest signed a Public-Private Partnership agreement in March to expand the work scope at the command, allowing the readiness center to now perform the same Block III SLM work done in St. Louis and San Antonio.

These first deliveries of Block III SLM jets are a major milestone in our continued efforts to ensure capability, reliability, availability, and maintainability of the Super Hornet aircraft,” said Capt. Michael Burks, program manager for the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Boeing to deliver this critical warfighting capability to the fleet.

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