First two SLM Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets delivered Ahead of Schedule

Boeing has completed the upgrade and life extension of the first two service life modification (SLM) F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets, delivering them to the US Navy one month ahead of schedule from St. Louis and two months ahead of schedule from San Antonio. The upgraded jets have the same capabilities as Super Hornets being delivered from Boeing’s new-build production line.

“Our success in meeting the accelerated timeline is proof our service life modification game plan is working,” said Faye Dixon, Boeing SLM director, in a company news release. “Thanks to our years of learning on the program and our partnership with the Navy, the F/A-18 Super Hornet remains at the forefront of defense technology with renewed years of service to support the fleet.”

In partnership with the Navy, Boeing has improved productivity and is completing Block III upgrades ahead of the 15-month contract requirement. This was made possible by:

Boeing delivers to the US Navy first two SLM Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets Ahead of Schedule
The first US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet to receive its SLM Block III upgrade out of Boeing’s facilities in St Louis takes to the sky to return to the US Navy.
  • Establishing a baseline for the condition of Block II F/A-18s received at Boeing, and the Navy’s work to prepare the jets in advance.
  • Sharing information and best practices across multiple SLM sites to improve efficiency, manage workload distribution and optimize resource allocations.

“Great measures were taken by the Boeing and Navy teams to ensure these are the safest and most capable Block III F/A-18s we can give our warfighters,” said Mark Sears, Boeing Fighters vice president. “These are just the first of many deliveries, with around 15 years of SLM deliveries to go. Our warfighters are counting on us to get this right every time.”

A major milestone

Block III upgrades include a large area display and more powerful computing through Tactical Targeting Network Technology and a Distributed Targeting Processor-Networked open mission systems processor. The work is being done at Boeing sites in St. Louis and San Antonio, and at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center Southwest in San Diego.

Boeing and the Fleet Readiness Center Southwest signed a Public-Private Partnership agreement in March to expand the work scope at the command, paving the way for the readiness center to now perform the same Block III SLM work done in St. Louis and San Antonio.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-211 Fighting Checkmates, AB200 / 166805 / 2009

“These first deliveries of Block III SLM jets are a major milestone in our continued efforts to ensure capability, reliability, availability and maintainability of the Super Hornet aircraft,” said Capt. Michael Burks, program manager for the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office. “We look forward to our continued partnership with Boeing to deliver this critical warfighting capability to the fleet.”

The Super Hornet

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet serves as the backbone of carrier-based aviation power projection. With the largest digital touch screen in any fighter cockpit, the F/A-18 is an industry leader in the development and installation of the hardware and processing power needed for future digital capabilities and growth. The adjunct processor running the demonstration adds significant processing power to the F/A-18’s mission processing suite.

The F/A-18E and F/A-18F are designed to meet current Navy fighter escort and interdiction mission requirements, to maintain F/A-18 fleet air defense and close air support roles, as well as an increasing range of missions, including Forward Air Controller (Airborne) and Aerial Tanking, as they have proven capability to replace the S-3 as an aerial tanker.

The EA-18G Growler is a variant in the F/A-18 family of aircraft that combines the proven F/A-18F Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite.

The US Navy F/A-18 that shot down a crewless US Navy E-2C to prevent it from crashing in a populated area
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Photo credit: Boeing via European Security & Defence