Awarded to General Electric (GE) Aviation, the option is part of an $800m firm-fixed-price contract secured by the company for delivery of 82 F414 engines, with options to procure more than 200 engines through 2013.
Under the follow-on development and production contract, the company will deliver 52 GE F414 engines to power the US Navy aircraft.
More than 1,200 F414 engines are currently in service onboard some 500 aircraft.
GE is also developing the F414 enhanced durability engine (Ede) featuring new designs and hardware to provide increased thrust and improved durability.
The F414 EDE will be equipped with a new high-pressure turbine and new six-stage, high-pressure compressor to provide significant maintenance and fuel savings.
Designed to serve as the US Navy’s all-weather premier fighter/attack aircraft, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet supports air superiority, day/night strike 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 from land-bases.
Developed to replace US 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.
Featuring 11 weapon stations for carrying electronic mission systems and weapons, the Growler aircraft is equipped to provide advanced airborne electronic attack capabilities.
Image: A US Navy’s EA-18G Growler aircraft during its flight. Photo: US Navy photo by Cmdr Ian C Anderson, USN.