Home Americas Boeing hands over 1st Block III Super Hornet to US Navy

Boeing hands over 1st Block III Super Hornet to US Navy

First US Navy Block III Super Hornet
The first operational Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet lifts off over Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. Photo: Boeing

US aerospace and defense giant Boeing has delivered the first of 78 contracted Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets to the US Navy.

The delivery follows the first flight of the newest Super Hornet variant in June 2020. The navy is making the switch in airframe deliveries after receiving its final Block II aircraft in April 2020.

Block III includes an advanced cockpit system, advanced network infrastructure, reduced radar cross-section, and a 10,000-flight hour lifespan.

“The fleet needs capabilities to keep its edge,” said Capt. Jason “Stuf” Denney, US Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager. “Getting the first operational Block III in our hands is a great step forward in supporting our capability and readiness goals.”

Block III’s new adjunct processor translates to a fighter that will do more work and in far less time increasing a pilot’s situational awareness. The jet is ready to receive apps-based solutions that will allow upgrades to the aircraft throughout its life span.

“We invested in Block III technology and developed the capabilities in partnership with the US Navy to meet its emerging requirements,” said Jen Tebo, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs. “The hardware upgrades are complete. Today we are maximizing the open hardware and software and developing the apps to keep Block III ahead of future threats. We are giving Navy pilots the tools to make the fastest and most informed decisions possible now and in the future.”

Boeing will continue to deliver Block III capabilities to the Navy through the mid-2030s from three lines. One new build production, and two Service Life Modification lines extending the life and eventually upgrading Block II Super Hornets to Block III.

The first aircraft delivered will complete the US Navy flight test program before deploying to a squadron.