US Navy to commission Super Hornet Block III into service

Boeing will begin integrating Block III Super Hornets multi-role strike fighter into U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fleets, according to a statement released by Boeing Defense on 15 May. The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.

The combat-proven Super Hornet delivers cutting-edge, next-generation multi-role strike fighter capability, outdistancing current and emerging threats well into the future. The Super Hornet has the capability, flexibility and performance necessary to modernize the air or naval aviation forces of any country. Two versions of the Super Hornet – the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model – are able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.

The new F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III will integrate new capabilities as an Advanced Cockpit System that includes a new 10×19 inch touch screen providing the pilot with the capability to see, track and target multiple long-range targets generated by the common tactical picture.

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The Super Hornet Block III will be fitted with a new 9,000+ hour life airframe to provide 3,000 additional hours by incorporating design changes into production aircraft based on lessons learned from the Service Life Analysis Program.

Conformal fuel tanks will be integrated into the F/A-18 Block III offering long-range with low-drag. The shoulder-mounted tanks can carry 3,500 pounds of fuel and reduce drag, allowing the aircraft to operate longer, go faster and/or carry more weight.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III will have new long-range detection capabilities thanks to the use of a Block II Infrared Search and Track (IRST) system that can detect threats without having to depend on a radar which may jam, generating a multi-ship, common tactical picture at long range, allowing the Super Hornet to operate as a smart sensor node on the network.

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