Boeing has announced the delivery of its first Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets to the US Navy, the first of 78 it will deliver under contract. The Block III variant of the Super Hornet is described by Boeing as “the most advanced version of the Super Hornet and exceeds fourth-generation fighter capabilities.”
US Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G program manager Capt. Jason “Stuf” Denney said that receiving the first of its new, improved Super Hornet fighters is “a great step forward in supporting [the Navy’s] capability and readiness goals.”
One of the major upgrades for the Block III is its new adjunct processor, which increases pilot efficiency and opens up a wide range of app-based solutions, increasing the lifespan of the fighter.
“We invested in Block III technology and developed the capabilities in partnership with the US Navy to meet its emerging requirements,” said Jen Tebo, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs.
Tebo also mentioned that hardware upgrades for the new system are complete, and they are now “maximizing the open hardware and software and developing the apps,” making Block III future-proof against threats.
Boeing is expected to continue Block III deliveries through the mid-2030s. Part of the contract for the Super Hornet upgraded system also included two Service Life Modification lines that will extend the life of existing Block II units and eventually upgrade them to Block III systems.
The first unit delivered will undergo a test flight by the US Navy before deployment.
Block III Super Hornet Capabilities
The new Block III boasts advanced network infrastructure including upgrades to its computing power, network throughput, and sensor to platform integration. Block III is also capable of receiving targeting information from other platforms.
Block III is also equipped with an Infrared Search and Track long-range detection system that can detect targets without the need for traditional radar. It can fly up to Mach 1.6 (1,975 kph/1,227 mph).