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Mercury Mission to Retrofit US Navy Hornets, Super Hornets, Growlers

The US Navy has awarded Mercury Mission Systems a $35.7-million deal to deliver retrofitted avionics to Boeing’s Hornets, Super Hornets, and Growlers by 2024.

Mercury Mission will provide 104 of its 1,553 Data Transfer Units for the navy aircraft.

Of those, 68 will go to F/A-18C/D Hornet and F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole fighters, while the remaining 36 will be installed on the EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft.

The company will also supply 144 high-definition video recorders for the Hornets and Super Hornets.

F/A-18C/D Hornets

The 56-foot (17 meters) Hornet is the US’ first all-weather fighter and attack aircraft. 

The platform has robust capabilities, enabling quick repair and recovery, even after taking direct surface-to-air missiles.

The aircraft is designed for traditional strike applications such as interdiction and close air support along with its fighter capabilities.

According to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Hornets are known for their versatility and survivability, being capable of “shooting down enemy fighters and bombing enemy targets within the same mission to prove its lethal effectiveness as a strike fighter.”

Hornets currently serve the Marine Corps’ tactical aviation as the primary bridging platform to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornets

Super Hornets are high-performance, twin-engine, multi-mission tactical aircraft. 

The 60.3-foot (18.5 meters) aircraft features increased range and improved carrier suitability upgrades, fulfilling a “key strike fighter role against the advanced threats of the 21st century.”

“The jet’s robust airframe was built with an open mission systems architecture, enabling ease of integration for new weapons and technology systems,” NAVAIR said.

“Through incremental block upgrades, the Super Hornet has proven adaptable and capable of keeping pace with adversaries in today’s dynamic combat environment by striving to continually deliver increased lethality and mission flexibility.”

F/A-18E Super Hornets fly in formation. Photo: US Navy

EA-18G Growler

A variant of the Super Hornet, the Growler is equipped with multi-mission capabilities for a wide range of enemy defense suppression missions.

The 60.2-foot (18.5 meters) aircraft combines the Super Hornet platform with a sophisticated electronic warfare suite to enhance its attack capabilities, NAVAIR states on its website.

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