Navy to cut Boeing's Super Hornet
October 5th- Following the announcement last spring by the United States Navy saying they wanted to make 2021 the last year it buys any new F/A-18 Super Hornets from Boeing, the Navy has also just announced that they are planning to cut Boeing's Super Hornet upgrade program. The Super Hornet upgrade program is a program that consists of refurbishing older Boeing models.
The Navy plans to cut a fifth of its orders from the service program and instead invest in the development of the next-generation fighter. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, this cut will threaten upwards of $3 billion in contracts and hundreds of local jobs after 2024.
With the Super Hornet being the most common jet on carriers today, it is clear this jet is a huge reason Boeing is able to employ more than 15,000 people in Missouri, making St. Louis Boeing's largest presence outside of Washington, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The Navy also informed a congressional committee that fewer planes would be coming in for refurbishing. The Navy insists they need more money for developmental research on future fighters.
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, wondered how the Navy was able to make cuts to the Super Hornet with a fighter shortage looming in the distance. However, Rear-Adm. Andrew Loiselle, the Navy's air warfare director stated, "the service would be able to fill the gaps by bringing in older planes and bringing some inactive Super Hornets back online." Navy officials also stated that if this new plan does not seem to be working they will put more Super Hornets through the refurbishing program.
Hartzler however, was not the only U.S. Representative to speak up on the matter. In April, Congresswoman Ann Wagner headed a bipartisan letter to House appropriators requesting $900 million for 12 new Super Hornets in 2022. Fifty others, including, Missouri GOP Reps. Billy Long, Jason Smith, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Sam Graves and Democrat Emanuel Cleaver all signed on. Missouri Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt also registered their support claiming, "The Super Hornet is still a good buy."
With the last Super Hornet scheduled to fly off the runway of the St. Louis Lambert International airport in three years, Boeing could be feeling the effect in the very near future.