Boeing receives contract for Super Hornet IRST Block II work

Boeing receives contract for Super Hornet IRST Block II work

By Dario Leone
Aug 23 2018
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The IRST upgrade is just one of the several improvements the U.S. Navy has planned for its F/A-18E/F fleet

Boeing has been given a $152 million contract “to design, development, integrate and test the Infrared Search and Track System (IRST) Block II, Phase II engineering change as a replacement to the IRST Block I system” for the Super Hornet.

The Pentagon announced under Release No: CR-159-18 that work is expected to be completed in December 2021.

Noteworthy Boeing is currently developing the upgraded Block III Super Hornet and the IRST upgrade is just one of the several improvements the U.S. Navy has planned for its F/A-18E/F fleet. In April 2017 the service has awarded to General Electric (GE) a $114.8 million contract aimed to install new engines on its F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft.

The new engine could be the so called General Electric’s enhanced performance engine (EPE), that would increase the F414-GE-400’s power output from 22,000 lbs to 26,400 lbs. EPE development commenced in 2009 and features several improvements over the standard F414-GE-400, including greater resistance to foreign object damage, reduced fuel burn rate, and potentially increased thrust of up to 20%.

However unlike Boeing’s previous Advanced Super Hornet concept that was revealed in 2013, the new Block III aircraft is a more modest proposition that is designed to support the rest of the air wing including the Lockheed Martin F-35C Joint Strike Fighter, Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye and the EA-18G Growler under the service Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air construct (NIFC-CA).

Nevertheless the Block III takes the existing upgrade path for the Super Hornet—including biennial hardware and software upgrades—and expands upon those. Indeed, some of the existing planned upgrades to the jet’s powerful Raytheon AN/APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures (IDECM) Block IV suite and the Lockheed Martin AN/ASG-34 Infrared Search and Track pod—the IRST21 sensor—are part of the Block III package.

Boeing receives contract for Super Hornet IRST Block II work
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-103 Jolly Rogers, AG200 / 166620 / 2007

Photo credit: U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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