Boeing has completed delivery of 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet combat aircraft for Kuwait, transferring them to the US Navy (USN) ahead of their eventual handover to the customer.
The manufacturer announced the event on 2 September, posting a video of single-seat aircraft 822 departing its St Louis production facility in Missouri.
With Kuwait’s 22 single-seat F/A-18Es and six twin-seat F/A-18Fs being contracted in a government-to-government deal, they have all been handed over to USN ahead of their expected transfer to the Kuwait Air Force (KAF) in the coming months (a precise timeline has not been disclosed). As previously reported by GDC, this delivery milestone was delayed slightly due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The USD2.7 billion deal for Kuwait (including radar warning receivers and weapons) involves Super Hornets built largely to the USN’s latest Block 3 standard (with some legacy Block 2 elements reportedly retained). The Block 3 includes upgrades to the Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar; an Elbit Systems large area display ‘glass’ cockpit and next-generation avionics; an infrared search and track; Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures; and new General Electric F-414-400 enhanced engines. Further to the capability enhancements, the Block 3 airframe is extended from 6,000 to 9,000 hours. The previously included ‘shoulder-mounted’ conformal fuel tanks were axed by the USN earlier in 2021.
In November 2016 the US State Department approved the sale of up to 40 Super Hornets (32 F/A-18Es and eight F/A-18Fs) for Kuwait, valued at USD10.1 billion (including related equipment and support). Once in KAF service, the Super Hornets will
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