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The F/A-18 is a twin-engine, carrier-capable fighter jet.

Pentagon Grants $56M for F-18 Program Testing

April 17, 2024
A five-year contact will support engineering, instrumentation, and maintenance requirements for the U.S. Navy’s fighter aircraft program.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense granted $56.45 million to Boeing Defense in a new contract for the F/A-18 program, to support flight-testing activities for the F/A-18 A-F and EA-18G fighter jets. The award will support engineering, instrumentation, and maintenance requirements for those aircraft, as well as laboratories, machining and metal shops, tooling and tool cribs, aircraft parts, aircraft ancillary equipment, and support equipment.

The F/A-18 is a twin-engine, supersonic fighter and attack aircraft developed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop Corp. in the 1970s and currently used in different variants by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and the air forces of several allied nations. While the Navy operates more than 700 F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18G Growlers, the aircraft is planned to be replaced with an undefined new fighter (the F/A-XX) in the 2030s.

Last year Boeing Defense 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 pending new orders from an international customer.

According to the Pentagon announcement, the “unique artisan support” defined in the new contract will be provided for current F/A-18 ground and flight test programs, such as the Next Generation Jammer, Weapon Programs, Growler Block Two, and other emergent requirements. These include electromagnetic air launch system upgrades, Super Blues support, and Sniper Pod, and for future programs.

The work defined by this new contract is expected to be conducted by the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division and completed in April 2029.

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