Boeing has delivered the first of the 78 contracted Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets to the US Navy, the company said in a statement on Monday.
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Block III is the most advanced version of the Super Hornet and exceeds fourth-generation fighter capabilities,” the statement said. Block III provides the US Navy with additional capabilities, including advanced cockpit systems and tools, which allow for increasing a pilot’s situational awareness, the statement explained.
“Getting the first operational Block III in our hands is a great step forward in supporting our capability and readiness goals,” US Navy F/A-18 Program Manager Capt. Jason Denney said in the statement.
Special delivery for the fleet! The first Block III F/A-18 #SuperHornet takes off for the @USNavy. This aircraft will complete the U.S. Navy flight test program before deploying to a squadron. pic.twitter.com/bn9fiG0sNJ
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) September 27, 2021
Boeing received a $4 billion contract on 61 single-seat and 17 two-seat Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets in March 2020, and the jet’s first flight took place two months later, the statement added.
Boeing will continue to deliver Block III capabilities to the US Navy through the mid-2030s, according to the statement.
Earlier, Boeing was in the news when it announced that an MQ-25 drone has for the first time refueled an F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter in flight.
“The US Navy and Boeing have used the MQ-25TM T1 test asset to refuel a US Navy F-35C Lightning II fighter jet for the first time, once again demonstrating the aircraft’s ability to achieve its primary aerial refueling mission,” Boeing said in a news release.
It was the third refueling mission for the Boeing-owned test asset in just over three months, advancing the test program for the Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft.
A T1 refueled a F/A-18 Super Hornet in June and an E-2D Hawkeye in August, the release said.
“Every test flight with another Type/Model/Series aircraft gets us one step closer to rapidly delivering a fully mission-capable MQ-25 to the fleet. Stingray’s unmatched refueling capability is going to increase the Navy’s power projection and provide operational flexibility to the Carrier Strike Group commanders.” US Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation program manager Captain Chad Reed said in the release.
During a test flight on September 13, an F-35C test pilot conducted a successful wake survey behind the MQ-25TM T1 to ensure performance and stability before making contact with T1’s aerial refueling drogue and receiving fuel, the release said.