Boeing delivered the first two F/A-18 Block III Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy for flight testing. One jet is a single-seat E model and the other is a two-seat F model.

According to the firm:

“The aircraft will be used for carrier suitability and integration testing of all Block III mission system components,” said Steve Wade, Boeing vice president, F/A-18 & EA-18G programs.

“These test jets will ensure crews have plenty of time to become comfortable with the new, next-generation systems before receiving operational aircraft.”

The U.S. Navy will use the aircraft to familiarize pilots with the advanced cockpit system’s new 10-inch-by-19-inch touchscreen display and test the capabilities delivered with the enhanced network capability.

In addition to these enhancements, the Block III configuration adds capability upgrades that include longer range, reduced radar signature and an enhanced communication system.

Boeing say that the fighter’s life also will be extended from 6,000 hours to 10,000 hours.

Last year, Boeing was awarded a contract from the Navy for 78 Block III Super Hornets. Boeing and U.S. Navy test teams have also flown conformal fuel tank prototypes.

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Sean Crowley

They are about to take up the option on another 22 F-35A’s along with the 4 more P-8’s here in Australia when we should just buy more of these as we can change the pre-wired F’s to they’re original option of G’s giving us 23 Growlers and buy 16 of the new Block 3 adding to the other 12 Hornets reducing the number of Pilots we need to Train (Poach from the UK) and have a more flexible platform .

Paul T

Sean – Your saying that more Hornets would be preferable to the F35A, is that right?.

Sean Crowley

Yeah , the F-35 is a fantastic piece of equipment but it is “plug and play” which is why Israel refused to have it unless they had access to source code , something no other F-35 partner has . A divided air force with two baskets for its eggs is more acceptable risk .

Paul T

Yes that makes sense, but thought with the UK being a Tier 1 partner in the F35 programme, after some serious negotiations the MOD has access to the Software Codes, to my knowledge anyway.

Sean Crowley

I will try not to bore you Paul but with F-35 it is more akin to your Apple I Pod as in you need to keep it plugged in and updated with relevant software just to get into the Air . The RAAF is using Block 3 F same as the USAF which is over 8.5 Million lines of Code ! You probably already know about ALIS so i wont go into it to much but what you might not be aware of is that it’s more than just maintenance but takes into account Pilot and his/her current level of… Read more »