A Boeing-built F/A-18 Super Hornet takes off from Lambert International Airport in St. Louis. Since the F/A-18 debuted in 1983, Boeing has delivered more than 2,000 Hornets, Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to customers around the world including the U.S. Navy, Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.

Boeing Schedules End of F/A-18 Production

Feb. 23, 2023
The fighter aircraft series will be wrapped up in 2025, while Boeing shifts its focus and investments to other projects and potential new defense programs.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security reported it will end production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in late 2025, though the St. Louis assembly line could continue in operation ‘til 2027 if the Super Hornet is selected by an international customer. The 2023 federal budget includes funding for eight more Super Hornets for the U.S. Navy, which now are set to be the final aircraft of the series.

The F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets are twin-engine fighter aircraft armed with a 20-mm M61 rotary cannon, and capable of carrying air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons.

“We are planning for our future, and building fighter aircraft is in our DNA,” stated Boeing vice president Steve Nordlund. “As we invest in and develop the next era of capability, we are applying the same innovation and expertise that made the F/A-18 a workhorse for the U.S. Navy and air forces around the world for nearly 40 years.”

Ending F/A-18 production will allow Boeing to prepare for future military aircraft programs, it stated. That reportedly indicates that the OEM is preparing itself to bid for the U.S. Air Force’s sixth-generation combat aircraft. Specific details about the so-called Next Generation Air Dominance program remains under wraps in military circles, and the schedule for selecting a new design are unknown.

Boeing has made $700 million worth of infrastructure improvements and expansions to its St. Louis operations in the past 10 years, and it confirmed it will hire more workers in support of future production programs. The OEM plans to build three new operations there, in addition to a new Advanced Composite Fabrication Center in Arizona; and the new MQ-25 production facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

Also, Boeing will increase production in St. Louis of the T-7A Red Hawk all-digital training system, and the the MQ-25 Stingray carrier-deployed autonomous refueling aircraft, and continue production of the F-15EX Eagle IIs.

Boeing also manufacturers 777X wing components in St. Louis.

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