The Navy awarded Boeing a $4 billion multi-year contract modification to build 78 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, according to a Wednesday Pentagon contract announcement.
The contract modification covers the production and delivery of aircraft between Fiscal Years 2019 and 2021. Boeing estimates the multi-year contract modification will save the Navy $395 million.
“A multiyear contract helps the F/A-18 team seek out suppliers with a guaranteed three years of production, instead of negotiating year to year,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs, said in a statement.
Four years ago, Boeing executives were evaluating whether to shutter the entire Super Hornet production line. The Navy’s FY 2016 budget request did not include funding to purchase Super Hornet, though the Navy’s unfunded priorities list that year did include a desire to purchase more Super Hornets to begin replacing the fleet of legacy F/A-18A-D strike fighters that were wearing out faster than anticipated.
The Navy has since renewed its dedication to buying more Super Hornets. The Navy’s current five-year purchase plan – of which the new multi-year award is part – calls for buying 110 Super Hornets, according to Boeing.
USNI News messages left with a spokesperson for Program Executive Officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs were not immediately returned.
Congress authorized the Navy’s request to issue such multi-year contracts in the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. The Navy has steadily retired older legacy F-18 Hornets as the newer Super Hornets came off the production line.
In February, USNI News reported the last operational Hornet squadron, the “Blue Blasters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, held a sundown ceremony before taking a final flight over Naval Air Station Oceana. The squadron is transitioning to new F/A-18 Super Hornets.
Of the 78 Super Hornets covered by the new contract modification, 61 are F/A-18E single-seat jets and 17 are F/A-18F double-seat fighters. All are Block III aircraft, which are slightly more stealthy than Block II and, per the Navy’s request, have a greater range and can carry more weapons on a more durable airframe expected to last up to 9,000 fight hours – about a decade longer than Block II airframes.
The following is the full Department of Defense contract award:
The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is awarded a ceiling priced $4,040,458,297 modification to convert a previously awarded advanced acquisition contract (N00019-18-C-1046) to a fixed-price-incentive-firm-target multi-year contract. The target price for this multi-year contract is $4,001,410,000. This modification provides for the full-rate production and delivery of 78 F/A-18 aircraft, specifically 61 F/A-18E and 17 F/A-18F aircraft for fiscal years 2018 through 2021. Work will be performed in El Segundo, California (61 percent); Hazelwood, Missouri (9 percent); Longueuil, Quebec, Canada (2 percent); Torrance, California (2 percent); Bloomington, Minnesota (2 percent); Ajax, Ontario, Canada (2 percent); Vandalia, Ohio (1 percent); Fort Worth, Texas (1 percent); Irvine, California (1 percent); Palm Bay, Florida (1 percent); Santa Clarita, California (1 percent); Grand Rapids, Michigan (1 percent); Greenlawn, New York (1 percent); Endicott, New York (1 percent); Marion, Virginia (1 percent); and various locations within the continental U.S. (13 percent). Work is expected to be completed in April 2024. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $1,557,334,000 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.