During Sea-Air-Space 2019, the largest maritime exposition in the U.S Boeing has unveiled the concept of future F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet fighter aircraft
The F/A-18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.
Boeing also announced that the U.S. Navy will receive the Block III Super Hornet fighters and its next-gen capabilities through 2033 as our teams deliver new aircraft and update existing aircraft through the Service Life Modification program.
“The initial focus of this program will extend the life of the fleet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours,” early said Mark Sears, SLM program director. “But SLM will expand to include Block II to Block III conversion, systems grooming and reset and O-level maintenance tasks designed to deliver a more maintainable aircraft with an extended life and more capability. Each of these jets will fly another 10 to 15 years, so making them next-generation aircraft is critical.”
Boeing will begin converting existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III early in the next decade. The fighter’s life also will be extended from 6,000 hours to 9,000 hours.
With a three-year contract award in March 2019 for 78 F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets, Boeing will play a vital role in the U.S. Navy’s fleet modernization efforts.
The Block III configuration adds capability upgrades that include enhanced network capability, longer range, reduced radar signature, an advanced cockpit system and an enhanced communication system.
Here are Key features of a Block III Super Hornet:
Advanced Network Infrastructure using an improved computer (DTP-N), SATCOM, network throughput (TTNT) and sensor/platform integration, allowing large amounts of data on and off the airplane. It also has the increased ability to receive targeting information from platforms like the EA-18G and the E-2D Hawkeye. Enhanced situational awareness with a new Advanced Cockpit System. A new 10 x 19-inch touchscreen display provides the pilot with the capability to see, track and target multiple long-range targets generated by the common tactical picture.
· Longer range with low-drag, stealthy conformal fuel tanks. The shoulder-mounted tanks can carry 3,500 pounds of fuel and reduce drag, allowing the aircraft to operate longer, go faster, and/or carry more weight.
· Long-range detection with Infrared Search & Track (IRST). The long-range sensor can detect and target threats independent of radar, generating a multi-ship, common tactical picture at long range and allowing the Super Hornet to operate as a smart sensor node on the network
· Improved signature with low observable next-generation radar cross section for increased survivability.
· 10,000 hour life for reduced life-cycle costs by incorporating design changes into production aircraft based on lessons learned from the Service Life Analysis Program.