The US Navy awarded Boeing contract for the purchase of 17 F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters

The US Navy awarded The Boeing Company a $1.3 billion contract on Mar. 19, 2024 for the purchase of 17 F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters and delivery of a technical data package vital to the sustainment of the platform.

“The technical data package was a crucial part of this negotiation; it is necessary for naval aviation’s operational readiness and post-production sustainment,” said Rear Adm. John Lemmon, Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs, in a NAVAIR news release. “The Super Hornet remains a predominant aircraft in the carrier air wing and will continue to provide significant combat capability into the 2040s.”

The Navy received appropriated funds from Congress to purchase these Super Hornets to help mitigate the strike fighter shortfall. The award is an Undefinitized Contract Action with the intent to definitize within the next few months.

“I am very proud of our team; their mission-focused mindset, data-driven approach and persistence resulted in an agreement that will greatly benefit the sustainment of the Super Hornet and Growler aircraft well into the future,” said Capt. Michael Burks, Program Manager for the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office. “It is our job to ensure our warfighters have all the necessary resources to defend our nation and return home safely.”

US Navy to take delivery of its last Rhino in 2027

US Navy will take delivery of its last F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighter in 2027 and not in 2025
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18E Super Hornet VFA-115 Eagles, NK200 / 165781 / 2006

Noteworthy the agreement comes after previous negotiations for the Navy’s final batch of Super Hornets stalled in late 2023 due to rising aircraft costs.

As reported by Alert 5, the 2023 impasse stemmed from a growing price tag for the fighter jet. Originally, Congress appropriated and authorized about $1.15 billion, which with the Navy’s estimate of $55.7 million per aircraft, could have purchased 20 Super Hornets. However, negotiations stalled as the true cost per aircraft climbed.

This new contract marks a resolution to the previous impasse even though it reflects a compromise: in fact, the service secures only 17 jets for $1.3 billion translating to a higher price per aircraft. As Congressman Rob Wittman (R-Va.), vice chair of the House Armed Services Committee and chair of the tactical air and land forces subcommittee, said in November last year to USNI News, “The number of dollars will not go as far, but those aircraft need to be built.”

The agreement not only bolsters the Navy’s fighter force but also keeps the Super Hornet production line running. Originally slated for completion in 2025, deliveries of these new jets will now begin in late 2026 and conclude by spring 2027, extending production for an additional two years.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (dubbed Rhino by its aircrews) entered fleet service in 1999, as the replacement for the F-14 Tomcat. The Super Hornet is the second major model upgrade since the inception of the F/A-18 aircraft program highly capable across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, close air support, air defense suppression and day/night precision strike. The single-seat F/A-18E and the two-seat F/A-18F are high performance, twin-engine, mid-wing, and multi-mission tactical aircraft designed to replace the F/A-18C (single-seat) and F/A-18D (two-seat) aircraft as they reach the end of their service lives and retire.

F/A-18F model
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr. / U.S. Navy