Boeing Corporation has showed off its concept of future F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter aircraft during maritime exposition Sea-Air-Space 2019, held in Maryland.
Boeing also made the announcement that the US Navy will receive the Block III Super Hornets and next-gen capabilities until 2033, with their teams delivering new aircraft and updating existing aircraft through the Service Life Modification program.
“The initial focus of this program will extend the life of the fleet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours,” said Mark Sears, SLM program director.
“But SLM will expand to include Block II to Block III conversion, systems grooming and reset and O-level maintenance tasks designed to deliver a more maintainable aircraft with an extended life and more capability. Each of these jets will fly another 10 to 15 years, so making them next-generation aircraft is critical.”
The company also confirmed that Block III is on schedule for delivery next year, with testing completed on the fighters' next-gen conformal fuel tanks, advanced cockpit system and infrared search and track.
The Block III configuration will add capability upgrades to some of these features, as well as enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature and an enhanced communications system.
Boeing's profile of the fighter describes the aircraft as "the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in US Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the US Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come".