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Boeing to upgrade U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels fleet to Super Hornets

Boeing to upgrade U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels fleet to Super Hornets
An artist’s depiction of a Blue Angels Super Hornet. (Graphic: Boeing)

Boeing has received a $17 million contract for convert nine F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft for Blue Angels flight demonstration team, said in the statement of the U.S. Department of Defense on 13 August.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Boeing for the retrofit documentation and kits to convert nine F/A-18E (single-seat) and two F/A-18F (tandem-seat) aircraft into a Blue Angel configuration in accordance with engineering change proposal 6480.

According to the DoD, work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2021.

The Blue Angels have operated Boeing F/A-18A, C, B, and D models for 30 years – far longer than they have flown any other aircraft type. The new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft is 25 percent larger and has 40 percent more range than the F/A-18C/D, making the aircraft substantially larger than its predecessors.

Details of Contracts for Aug. 13, 2018:

The contract includes the procurement of 11 kits that are based on a recent engineering study that will allow 9 F/A-18Es and 2 F/A-18Fs to be modified to suit the team’s unique needs. This includes the removal of certain items, such as the jet’s nose-mounted M61A2 cannon, and the installation of others, including air show smoke systems that help onlookers trace the team’s path through the sky. Other modifications include a heavy spring in the control column that provides the constant forward force. This helps the Blue Angel pilots pull off their especially tight formation aerobatics. There are some avionics modifications as well and, of course, the iconic blue and gold paint job.

The announcement reads:

“The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $17,002,107 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001918F2654 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001).  This order is for the retrofit documentation and kits to convert nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft into a Blue Angel configuration in accordance with engineering change proposal 6480.  Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2021.  Fiscal 2018 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $17,002,107 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.”

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