Starting from 2022, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will be flying the F/A-18E during airshows
Starting from 2022, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels will be flying the F/A-18E during airshows. Boeing has received a $17 million contract to convert nine F/A-18Es and 2 F/A-18Fs into the Blue Angel configuration.
Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2021.
The Pentagon in fact announced under Release No: CR-155-18 that “The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $17,002,107 for firm-fixed-price delivery order N0001918F2654 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001). This order is for the retrofit documentation and kits to convert nine F/A-18E and two F/A-18F aircraft into a Blue Angel configuration in accordance with engineering change proposal 6480. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed in December 2021.”
As the actual jets, the new aircraft will be modified into a configuration specific to the Blue Angels role that requires the installation of a smoke generator and the removal of the fighter’s gun and missile launchers.
Still, the Rhino (as the Super Hornet is dubbed by its aircrews) is something more than the Legacy Hornet younger brother. In fact when it is strictly compared to the F/A-18A/B/C/D, the F/A-18E/F is 25 percent larger and the two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines have increased the aircraft thrust of 35 percent over the older model. Moreover an enhanced fuel capacity boosts the Super Hornet mission range.
Nevertheless all these improvements have made the “Super” heavier than the “Legacy” Hornet and because of its extra weight making of the Rhino the new aircraft of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron could be a difficult task.
Photo credit: Teddy Techer