Boeing announced on Wednesday that it has delivered the first Super Hornet test aircraft for the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The aircraft—one of eleven ordered by the Navy—will go through a flight test and evaluation phase at Maryland’s Naval Air Station Patuxent River before being painted with the team’s trademark blue and yellow. According to Boeing, modifications to the Blue Angels’ Super Hornets include an oil tank for a smoke-generation system, fuel systems that enable the aircraft to fly inverted for an extended period of time, civilian-compatible navigation equipment, cameras and adjustments for the aircraft’s center of gravity.
“The Super Hornet is an iconic representation of excellence in naval aviation,” said Boeing Vice President of U.S. Navy & Marine Corps Services and retired Admiral Pat Walsh. “As Boeing continues to support the operational fleet of Navy Super Hornets, we are excited to see this platform enter a critical phase of its journey to joining the team.”
As previously reported by AVweb, the Navy awarded Boeing a $17 million contract to configure nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F Super Hornets for the Blue Angels in August 2018. Boeing expects to deliver the remaining ten aircraft later this year. The team, which has used eight aircraft models since their first performance in 1946, has been flying F/A-18C/D Hornets since 1986.