Boeing has delivered the first two F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet test aircraft to the U.S. Navy. One of the aircraft is a single-seat E model and the other is a two-seat F model. The Block III Super Hornet flew for the first time in May 2020.
“The aircraft will be used for carrier suitability and integration testing of all Block III mission system components,” said Boeing F/A-18 & EA-18G Programs Vice President Steve Wade. “These test jets will ensure crews have plenty of time to become comfortable with the new, next-generation systems before receiving operational aircraft.”
The Navy awarded Boeing a $4 Billion multiyear contract for 78 Block III Super Hornets—61 E models and 17 F models—in March 2019. The aircraft are scheduled to be delivered through 2024. Block III upgrades include longer range, reduced radar signature and an enhanced communication system along with a new 10-inch by 19-inch touchscreen display. The new version also extends the life of the jet from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours.