Boeing has introduced its 20th F / A-18 Super Hornet into the Service Life Modification (SLM) to meet the US Navy’s mission-capable aircraft readiness requirements.

In June, Boeing delivered the first two F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets jets to the US Navy for flight testing.

The SLM will initially increase the life of the aircraft to 7,500 flight hours from 6,000. After this, it will be increased to 10,000 hours after the future modification plans in 2022.

Block III conversion will include increased network capabilities, compatible fuel tanks, advanced cockpit systems, signature enhancements, and improved communication systems.

The upgrades will add extra life to the F/A-18 for decades to come.

The US Navy awarded a contract to Boeing for the upgrade and modernisation of its 24 aircrafts in March 2018.

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In February, the US Navy took delivery of the first upgraded F/A-18 Super Hornet jet under the SLM contract.

An additional contract is expected later this year to include induction training until 2022.

Boeing F/A-18 & EA-18G programmes vice-president Steve Wade said: “The Super Hornet is the workhorse fighter for the US Navy.

“SLM is critical because it gives the Super Hornet a new life and next-generation Block III capabilities.

“The combination of Block III Super Hornets coming out of SLM and new builds off the production line will enable the navy to maintain the force structure necessary to meet its mission needs.”

SLM comprises two production lines in St Louis and San Antonio, Texas.