Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has been assigned to perform the service life modification (SLM) on the US Navy’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.

The first aircraft, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106, has already been inducted for the procedure.

Inducted on 29 June, the Super Hornet E/F has been in service with the US Navy since 1999 and has completed approximately 6,200 flight-hours.

The SLM process is conducted after an aircraft achieves 6,000 flight hours to extend its service life to 15,000 flight hours.

FRCSW F/A-18 legacy and E/F programme manager Ehren Terbeek said: “The SLM will involve over 20 direct artisans and a team of MRO and Fleet Support Team (FST) engineers and other support groups.

“They have been tasked with a 17-month turn-around time (TAT) but will work in earnest to complete the project earlier than that.

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“The SLM will be comprised of a series of inspections that can drive repairs and incorporate technical directives and standard dispositions that have been created for event.”

According to Terbeek, Super Hornet SLM will not involve replacement of major structural components and will take less time to complete than other procedures such as centre barrel replacement or high-flight-hour modifications.

The initial procedures for SLM have already been established by F/A-18 & EA-18G Programme Office (PMA-265) and Boeing.

Terbeek added: “Eventually Block III upgrades or avionic type modifications, will be added to existing SLM workload.

“The upgrades include an advanced cockpit system with a touch screen display, enhanced networking and a reduced radar signature.”

Currently, the budgeted cost for performing SLM procedure per aircraft is $5.5m.

The second SLM Super Hornet will be inducted in second quarter of next fiscal year.