The US Navy F / A-18F Block III Super Hornet takes off over St. Louis, Missouri, where 78 Block IIIs will be built by The Boeing Company. (Photo courtesy of The Boeing Company)
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Maryland – The US Navy accepted delivery of the first new production Block III F / A-18 Super Hornet on August 31.
The first of the 78 new Super Hornets built by the Boeing Company was transported to Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., For ongoing development testing. The next Block III jets to roll off the production line will head to the VX-9, at Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) in China Lake, Calif., To begin operational test training, during which the aircraft will undergo an assessment in scenarios that mimic mission operations.
Since accepting delivery of the Block III test jets last summer, the VX-23 and VX-31, at NAWS China Lake, have put the latest fighter jet configuration to the test. multi-mission.
“The new aircraft has successfully completed carrier suitability testing and a full evaluation of the new components of the Block III mission system is underway,” said Bob David, assistant to the F / A-18 programs office and EA-18G (PMA-265). Responsible for the test and evaluation program.
The VX-23 performed shake, knock and roll tests, which mimic the aircraft carrier environment to ensure that the aircraft and every new system installed can withstand the intense forces of a catapult-assisted launch and landing stopped from a ship. The Block III test jet passed this multi-point test challenge in January.
“Reviewing these new systems in a test environment prior to commissioning our fighter is very important and allows the Navy to ensure that the delivered system meets the requirements provided to the manufacturing contractor and that our fleet receives an efficient, interoperable and durable aircraft that will support the mission, ”explained David.
Comprehensive tests conducted by the Navy to date provide a high level of risk reduction, allowing improvements to be made and incorporated into production jets’ hardware and software updates. Development and operational testing will continue until early next summer. Boeing has committed to deliver two Block III aircraft per month until the end of calendar year 2024.
The Block III Super Hornet brings several new capabilities to the fleet and allows the F / A-18 to remain the backbone of carrier-based aviation power projection. Improvements that make the Block III the deadliest and most durable F / A-18 in operation include an advanced cockpit with new crew-configurable screens, advanced networking, radar signature improvements and 10,000 hour lifespan. In addition, the design of Block III provides a capacity for rapid growth and facilitates the integration of future technologies, allowing the Super Hornet to outperform its opponents in today’s dynamic threat environment.
Commenting on the importance of the production deliveries of Block III currently underway, PMA-265 Program Manager Captain Jason Denney said: efforts to integrate these capabilities into our new production aircraft as well as to develop upgrade kits upgrade and technical guidelines to be incorporated into Block II aircraft during the life modification, the Naval Aviation Enterprise team, along with our industry partners, have achieved tremendous performance in bringing these capabilities into line in a safe and efficient manner.
Denney added, “We are excited to see new production shipments roll off the St. Louis line, and we look forward to the continuation of the jet development and operational test programs. Our F / A-18 team continue to test, refine and improve the program, ensuring that we provide the deadliest, most reliable and durable attack fighter to meet the needs of the fleet.
Article by Carrie Munn, PMA-265 Communications