May 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy and Boeing are considering future upgrades beyond the Block 3 enhancement that is already being planned for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
If approved, the upgrades are anticipated to keep the aircraft in service until as far as the 2040's.The Block 3 is expected to start production in 2020.
"When you look at flight plan for the future of the aircraft, there could well be lots of new capabilities added after Block 3. The Block 3 is built around a new processor that is a hundred times more powerful than today's," Larry Burt, Directer of Sales & Marketing for the Global Strike division, said in a press release.
"This processor resides outside of the aircraft's Operational Flight Program, and so is not tied to its five-year software development cycle. It is truly open architecture that allows for plug and play of weapons, sensors, and systems," Burt said.
The Super Hornet is an upgraded version of the orignal F-18 Hornet fighter jet. It is a twin-engine, supersonic, multi-role fighter that is one of the primary assets of U.S. naval aviation. The EF-18G Growler, a variant of the Super Hornet, is an airborne electronic attack platform designed to jam enemy radars, missiles and communications.