Boeing inducted the first F/A-18 into the Service Life Modification program, which will modernize and extend the life of the U.S. Navy Super Hornet fleet.
The Super Hornet, which returned to Boeing St. Louis in early April, received a warm welcome during a ceremony on May 4 attended by U.S. Navy representatives, local elected officials and Boeing employees.
“Three hundred and fifty plus Super Hornets will come through this line in the next five to six years … so we can support the needs of our nation,” said Rear Adm. Michael Moran, U.S. Navy. “The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the premiere strike fighter for the U.S. Navy today and for the foreseeable future.”
Shelley Lavender, senior vice president of Boeing Strike, Surveillance and Mobility said at the height of the Service Life Modification line, Boeing will deliver more than 50 Block III Super Hornets to the Navy per year off two modification lines and one production line.
“Not only will this program extend the lives of current aircraft, but we also will begin inserting new technologies, and within a few years we’ll be taking Super Hornets out of the fleet and returning them as Block III aircraft,” Lavender said.
Work on the first four aircraft will be completed in St. Louis. An additional production line will be established next year in San Antonio. In the early 2020s, Boeing will begin conversion of existing Super Hornets to the new Block III configuration. Additional follow-on contracts could be awarded during the next 10 years.