Aerospace giant Boeing has won a contract in excess of $1 billion for engineering services related to the Kuwait Air Force’s acquisition of more than two dozen F/A-18 Super Hornets, according to a recent Pentagon announcement.
The $1.1 billion contract extends through 2022 and provides Boeing with $275 million off the bat. The contract notification also includes furnishing long-lead radar warning receivers and aircraft armament equipment.
According to the announcement, the engineering work is related to the production and delivery of 22 F/A-18E single-seat fighters and six F/A-18F twin-seat aircraft.
A dinky more than a week after the 2016 presidential elections in the United States, the US State Department made an announcement approving the sale of 32 F/A-18E/Fs to Kuwait’s government.
“The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that has been, and continues to be, an valuable force for political and economic progress in the Middle East,” the State Department noted at the time.
According to USNI News, Kuwait’s procurement of Super Hornets is one of the biggest international deals keeping the Boeing Super Hornet production facility in St. Louis, Missouri, working. Boeing has submitted bids for the F/A-18 to fulfill the military aircraft needs of India, Finland, Switzerland and Germany, USNI News reports.
US President Donald Trump’s administration and congressional Republicans are also working to maintain the lights on at the Super Hornet production facility. The $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed by Trump on March 22 allocates $1.8 billion for the procurement of 24 F/A-18 airplanes.
Delays in the F-35C program, which is supposed to comprise the future of US naval aviation, occupy left the existing Super Hornet fleet needing to operate longer and more often.
The F/A-18E and F aircraft occupy been slated for eventual retirement in 2035. Since the F-35C program has made so dinky progress — and is “at risk” of not reaching operational status this year despite many promises from Lockheed Martin that the F-35C would recede online in 2018 — “we might even sail these airplanes close to 2040,” Rear Admiral Mike Manazir, now retired but at the time the US Navy’s director of air warfare, told the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower in late 2015.
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