that the first US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet has entered its Service-Life Modification (SLM) process ahead of the planes’ Block 3 enhancement program. Super Hornets are flown by the US Navy, replacing the service’s retired F-14 Tomcat fighters. The F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets
have been enlarged in all dimensions and fitted with 2 extra weapons pylons. The new design created pylon vibration problems early on, which explains the new “dogtooth” design on the wings’ leading edge. The Navy currently has a program-of-record of 573 Super Hornets, 300 of which will undergo a comprehensive refurbishment ahead of the fitting of additional improvements under the Block 3 upgrade. Block 3 is the Navy’s answer to keeping the jets in service to 2030 and beyond. The upgrades introduce a better performing AN/APG-79
active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, a ‘shoulder-mounted’ conformal fuel tanks (CFTs), new General Electric F-414-400 enhanced engines as well as a new cockpit based on large touch-screen technology and a more advanced computers is designed to bring the Super Hornets closer to sensor fusion parity with the F-35
, without relying on a helmet-mounted-display. All in all, F/A-18 Super Hornets outfitted with Block 3 upgrades will boost better performance, an increased operational radius, a smaller radar cross-section and better electronics. Work on the up to 14 years old fighter jets is being performed at the company’s St. Louis production facility in Missouri.