The Navy announced today the signing of a multi-year contract with the Boeing Co. of Seattle for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet full rate production. The contract, valued at $8.9 billion, includes a total of 222 aircraft over five years. By signing a multi-year contract, the Navy says it will save over $700 million and deliver a quantum leap in tactical ability to the fleet.
Under the terms of the contract, the Navy will purchase 36 aircraft in fiscal 2000, 42 aircraft the following year, and 48 aircraft for each of the following three years. The multi-year agreement builds budgetary flexibility into the contract by allowing the Navy to increase or decrease the quantity of aircraft on order by as many as six aircraft in each of the last four fiscal years.
"The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the cornerstone of the future of Naval aviation," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jay L. Johnson. "It will provide twice the sorties, a third the combat losses and forty percent greater range. We can't wait to get it to the fleet!"
The Navy says today's milestone is added to the long list of achievements that make the F/A-18E/F the most successful acquisition program in Naval history. To date, a total of 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets have flown more than 9,200 hours and have met or exceeded every key performance parameter. The Super Hornet has remained on schedule and within the budget parameters originally established in 1991.
"The future presents challenging asymmetric threats with capabilities that will continue to chip away at our technological and tactical advantage," said Navy Rear Adm. James B. Godwin III, program executive officer for Tactical Aircraft. "We have delivered to the fleet a strike fighter that is truly multi-mission capable, flexible, survivable and with capacity for future growth as the need arises. Signing this contract is the fulfillment of a great teaming effort between the Navy and our contractor team."
Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115) from Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is slated to be the first fleet operational Super Hornet squadron. Currently flying F/A-18C's, the squadron will start the transition to F/A-18E's later this fall and embark on its first deployment in June of 2002 aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72).
Although the United States customarily purchases its defense systems through single-year procurement contracts, Congress authorizes exceptions when committing to longer-term buys that make economic sense. In a multi-year environment, savings are captured by eliminating annual, nonrecurring start up costs, including proposal preparation and negotiation, subcontract negotiation, and tooling set-up. A multi-year procurement also allows the contractor to better plan the production flow and facility utilization, which reduces the recurring production and sustaining engineering costs.