The US Navy (USN) has received into service its final Block 2 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft, ahead of the retrofit and new-build Block 3 upgrade effort learned GDC quoting the US Navy.
The USN announced on 24 April that the 608th (322 single-seat F/A-18Es and 286 twin-seat F/A-18Fs) retrofitted and new-build Block 2 Super Hornet to be delivered since 2005 was handed over on 17 April. Aircraft F/A-18E 322 is being delivered to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, based at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.
“Delivery of this last production Block 2 Super Hornet is […] a stepping stone along the path to continuously evolving our platforms to meet the US Navy’s ever-evolving needs,” said Captain Jason Denney, Program Manager of the F/A-18 and EA-18 Program Office (PMA-265). “Block 3 delivery is just steps behind and the production lines won’t miss a beat, with the first two US Navy Block 3 test jets delivering in the next two months, followed by delivery of 24 E/F aircraft over the next year for our international customer, Kuwait.”
Capt Denney’s noting of the “continuously evolving” philosophy of the USN’s aircraft platforms in general mirrors earlier comments made to Jane’s and other defence media regarding the Hornet-series in particular.
With the first F/A-18A/B Hornet designed to be a multimission, programmable strike fighter, the F/A-18C/D variants of the late 1980s built on this with enhanced avionics and a more lethal systems and weapons package. The F/A-18C/D then became the F/A-18C/D Night Attack in the early 1990s before the Hornet became the F/A-18E/F Block 1 Super Hornet in the late 1990s.
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