First SLM F/A-18 delivered to US Navy
The first F/A-18 to undergo the Service Life Modification (SLM) programme has been redelivered to the US Navy by Boeing.
The SML is extending the service life of the Super Hornet from 6,000 to 7,500 flight hours. Future modification plans in the early 2020s will enable the jets to fly 10,000 hours and incorporate the new Block III capabilities.
The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system.
There are now 15 Super Hornets in the SLM programme on production lines in St Louis and San Antonio. It takes 18 months to complete modifications on an F/A-18, although that time will be driven down to one year as the programme progresses.
The second SLM jet will deliver by the end of the month, and Boeing will deliver the third F/A-18 in April.
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