Home Americas First Block III Super Hornet takes to the skies

First Block III Super Hornet takes to the skies

Unpainted Block III Super Hornet
Photo: Screengrab

The first Block III Super Hornet test jet for the US Navy has taken to the skies, ahead of the aircraft’s delivery to the customer, the aircraft manufacturer Boeing has announced.

The delivery is to take part a little over year after the company received a $4 billion contract for the production of 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets for the navy in March 2019.

Earlier this year, the navy took delivery of the final Block II aircraft, closing out a run of 322 one-seater F/A-18Es and 286 two-seated F/A-18Fs.

The Block III configuration adds capability upgrades that include enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, an advanced cockpit system and an enhanced communication system.

Boeing will deliver two Block III aircraft by the end of June. The jets will then start testing at both NAS Patuxent River and Naval Air Weapons System (NAWS) China Lake.

Boeing is also set to start converting existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III, extending the fighter’s life from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours.