Popular Mechanics: U.S. Navy Approves Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet Upgrades
The Navy's flagship carrier-based fighter is getting a major tune-up.
The U.S. Navy has decided to fund Boeing's fighter division to upgrade the service's F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets to the "Block III" configuration. The most recent budget request from the U.S. Navy allocates $264.9 million over the next five years to upgrade the Super Hornet fleet with more advanced avionics and sensor capabilities, according to Aviation Week. The first Block III Super Hornets are slated to enter service in 2019. The program is designed to keep the Navy's primary carrier-based fighter relevant deep into the 21st century.
Boeing originally suggested upgrading the Super Hornet fleet to Block III back in 2008. Recent pressure from the White House to look into an advanced Super Hornet, a large defense budget from the new administration, and rising international tensions have led the Navy to approve the upgrade.
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WNU Editor: This is a clear signal that the F-35 program will not (in the short to medium term) be the fighter jet that the US Navy will solely be dependent on. Is this a lack of confidence in the F-35 program .... not really .... but costs and not putting all of one's eggs in one basket is probably the reason why this upgrade has been approved.