Military Aviation

First two F/A-18 Super Hornets to complete Service Life Modification delivered to the US Navy

Initially, SLM will extend the life of Super Hornets from 6,000 to 7,500 flight hours. Future modification plans in 2022 will enable the jets to fly 10,000 hours and incorporate Block III capabilities.

Boeing has inducted its 20th F/A-18 Super Hornet into Service Life Modification (SLM) supporting U.S. Navy readiness needs for mission-capable aircraft. Two SLM jets have already been delivered back to the Navy.

Initially, SLM will extend the life of Super Hornets from 6,000 to 7,500 flight hours. Future modification plans in 2022 will enable the jets to fly 10,000 hours and incorporate Block III capabilities.

Boeing is currently on contract for the modernization of 24 aircraft. An additional contract award covering inductions through 2022 is expected later this year. SLM consists of two production lines in St. Louis and San Antonio, Texas.

“The Super Hornet is the workhorse fighter for the U.S. Navy,” said Steve Wade, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs, in the company news release. “SLM is critical because it gives the Super Hornet a new life and next-generation Block III capabilities. The combination of Block III Super Hornets coming out of SLM and new builds off the production line will enable the Navy to maintain the force structure necessary to meet its mission needs.”

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 in active service for decades to come.

As we have already explained, two Block III Super Hornets (one single-seat F/A-18E model and a two-seat F/A-18F model) have been delivered to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 “Salty Dogs” to Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River for carrier suitability trials, before heading to Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake (CA) for weapons tests.

The first F/A-18F Block III Super Hornet (construction number F287) has been rolled-out from the final assembly on May 8, 2020, and performed the maiden flight a few days later.

The Navy will use the aircraft to familiarize pilots with the advanced cockpit system’s new 10-inch-by-19-inch touchscreen display and test the capabilities delivered with the enhanced network capability.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18E Super Hornet VX-23 Salty Dogs, SD100

Photo credit: Boeing

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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