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Boeing moves to wrap up Super Hornet production, pivots for future defence business opportunities

Boeing has announced it expects to complete new-build production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in late 2025 following delivery of the final US Navy fighters — with eyes on future defence market opportunities. 

Boeing has announced it expects to complete new-build production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in late 2025 following delivery of the final US Navy fighters — with eyes on future defence market opportunities. 

To meet demand for defence products and services, Boeing plans to continue hiring year-over-year for the next five at its St Louis site. More than 900 people were hired in the St Louis region last year.

The company has said production could be extended to 2027 if the Super Hornet is selected by an international customer. This point was tentatively reinforced by Steve Nordlund, Boeing Air Dominance vice-president and St Louis site leader, who said, “We are planning for our future, and building fighter aircraft is in our DNA.”

Going further, Boeing stated the F/A-18 production decision, will allow Boeing to:

  • Redirect resources to future military aircraft programs: To support work on the next generation of advanced crewed and uncrewed aircraft, Boeing plans to build three new, state-of-the-art facilities in St Louis. These facilities, as well as the new Advanced Composite Fabrication Center in Arizona, and the new MQ-25 production facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, represent more than a $1 billion investment.
  • Boeing has invested US$700 million into St Louis infrastructure upgrades during the past decade, enabling the introduction of new design and build techniques streamlining processes and improving first-time quality.
  • Ramp up production of critical new defence programs: Boeing St Louis will increase production of the world’s first all-digital training system, the T-7A Red Hawk, and the world’s first carrier-deployed autonomous refuelling aircraft, the MQ-25 Stingray, along with ongoing production of new F-15EX Eagle IIs and 777X wing components.
  • Focus on modernisation and upgrade efforts: Boeing will continue to develop advanced capabilities and upgrades for the global F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleet. Throughout the next decade, all Block II Super Hornets in Service Life Modification will receive the Block III capability suite. Boeing will also continue to add advanced electronic attack capability as part of ongoing Growler modifications.

“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 US Navy and air forces around the world for nearly 40 years,” Nordlund added. 

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 US Navy, Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, and Switzerland.

 

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