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    End of an Era: Boeing to Halt F/A-18 Super Hornet Production by 2025

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    After over two decades of robust service, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a mainstay of U.S. Navy airpower, is slated for a final production run, with the line closing in 2025. This decision comes as the Super Hornet, once the Navy’s principal carrier-based fighter, faces reduced demand and increased competition from newer aircraft like the F-35.

    NEW WINDSOR, NY – JULY 2, 2017: The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II from Stewart International Airport during the New York Airshow.

    The Super Hornet, a more advanced and larger variant of the original F/A-18C Hornet, made its first flight in 1999 and quickly became known for its versatility. The aircraft excelled in air-to-air combat, precision strikes, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance roles. Its most recent Block III variant, introduced in 2021, significantly improved its capabilities, boasting enhanced range, payload, and networking abilities.

    Despite its successful tenure, Boeing has confirmed it will not accept any U.S. orders beyond the eight aircraft Congress added to the fiscal 2023 budget. This decision punctuates a tumultuous period for the aircraft’s production, which saw varying demand influenced by budgetary constraints and evolving military priorities.

    The eight Super Hornets allocated in the latest budget will be the final American-built Super Hornets, concluding the Navy’s acquisition of a fleet that totals 698 aircraft over thirty years. However, the legacy of the Super Hornet may extend slightly if India opts to procure the jet for its navy, potentially delaying the production line’s closure to 2027.

    Boeing’s strategic “pivot” will reassign resources and staff from the Super Hornet line to other projects. Investments include a $1 billion commitment to new facilities in St. Louis designed for advanced crewed and uncrewed platforms. The workforce will also focus on increasing production for the T-7A Red Hawk, the F-15EX Eagle II, and the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker drone.

    While new-build Super Hornets will become a thing of the past, Boeing will continue servicing the fleet. The Service Life Modification program is set to expand the aircraft’s life by an estimated 4,000 flight hours and upgrade them with Block III features. Similarly, the EA-18G Growler, an electronic warfare variant of the Super Hornet, will continue receiving updates. These initiatives will ensure the existing fleet remains relevant and combat-ready into the 2030s.

    The sunsetting of Super Hornet production aligns with the Navy’s forward-looking approach, focusing resources on the Next Generation Air Dominance program, which foresees a family of manned and unmanned systems, including a new F/A-XX fighter.

    While the cessation of the Super Hornet production marks the end of a significant chapter in naval aviation, the aircraft will continue to fly with the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, and Kuwait Air Force. The Blue Angels, the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, will also continue showcasing the Super Hornet, ensuring its iconic status for years to come.

    related images you might be interested.

    An FA-18A Hornet aircraft comes in for a landing on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65). The carrier is en route to the Sea Fair Festival in Seattle.
    Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings taxi F-35As on the runway in preparation for a combat power exercise Nov. 19, 2018, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. During the exercise wings confirmed their ability to employ a large force of jets against air and ground targets, demonstrating the readiness and lethality of the F-35 Lightning II. As the first combat-ready F-35 units in the Air Force, the 388th and 419th FWs are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Cynthia Griggs)
    Pictured on day one (on Friday 8th July) of the 2016 Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, the largest military airshow in the world.
    OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM — Aircraft of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and coalition counterparts stationed together in a deployed location in southwest Asia fly over the desert., April 14, 2003. Aircraft include KC-135 Stratotanker, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-117 Nighthawk, F-16CJ, British GR-4 Tornado, and Australian F/A-18 Hornet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ron Przysucha)

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