Boeing has been awarded a contract by the F/A-18 and EA-18G Programme Office (PMA-265) to produce and deliver 44 F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft over the next two years.
The latest contract will allow the US Navy to acquire the remaining aircraft included in the programme of record by the end of the fiscal year 2016, as well as 12 EA-18Gs for the Royal Australian Air Force, which were requested in July 2013.
PMA-265 programme manager captain Frank Morley said that F/A-18 and EA-18G jets are the predominant tactical force for both the US Navy and Marine Corps.
"The navy’s long-range strike fighter procurement strategy is to have a mix of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and F-35 Lightning IIs by the early-2020s," Morley said.
"We will operate F/A-18 E/F and F-35 aircraft together from our aircraft carriers through the 2030s."
Designed to serve as the US Navy’s all-weather premier fighter / attack aircraft, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet supports air superiority, day / night strikes with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close-air support, suppression of enemy air defences, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward-air control and tanker missions.
Based on the combat-proven two-seat F/A-18 Hornet, EA-18G Growler jets can operate from either an aircraft carrier or land bases.
Developed to replace the navy’s ageing EA-6B Prowler aircraft, which entered service in 1971, Growlers can support missions such as electronic attack (EA) and suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD), mainly at the beginning and ongoing early stages of combat.
Image: A US Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler of the test and evaluation squadron VX-3. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy, photo by Cmdr. Ian C. Anderson, USN.