posted on Dec, 22 2017 @ 05:19 PM
Boeing plans to begin Phase I of the Service Life Extension /Block III upgrade of the Navy F-18 Super Hornet fleet in April. The first aircraft, an
F-18F, will arrive in St Louis then to undergo the extension. When the aircraft leaves to return to the fleet, it will have an additional 3,000 hours
on the airframe available.
Unlike with the Hornet, Boeing won't be replacing major components. They have been using various aircraft to study corrosion on the airframe.
They've found that aircraft that fly more have less corrosion. Phase I of the program is concentrating on data analytics and predicting where and how
bad the corrosion on the incoming aircraft is. It's believed it will take around 30 aircraft to nail that down.
Beginning around 2022, the upgrade phase will begin. That will include conformal fuel tanks, upgrades to the APG-63(V)3 radar, new defensive systems,
and undisclosed RCS reduction measures to the engine inlets. At the same time, the fleet will be receiving new build Block III aircraft across the