Following testing and evaluation, the U.S. Navy has developed and applied a cost-effective porous wingfold fairing to the F/A-18E/F wing that corrects the in-flight phenomenon known as "wing drop." Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and other senior defense officials have been briefed on the successful application of the modification.
"The 'wing drop' issue and the recommended adjustments have been thoroughly examined by the Navy, an independent panel of experts, Department Acquisition and Technology officials and the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation," said Cohen.
"I am confident that the Navy's modification to the F/A-18E/F wing is a suitable and cost-effective solution to the 'wing drop' issue," he said.
Navy officials told Cohen that the modification will not increase the cost of the program.
Cohen asked the Navy to continue to keep him apprised of the program's progress.
The resolution of the "wing drop" issue clears the way for the Navy to award a $2 billion Low Rate Initial Production contract for 20 aircraft to the Boeing Company, manufacturer of the aircraft.
The F/A-18E/F "Super Hornet" is part of the Department's overall tactical aircraft modernization plan and is the centerpiece of the Navy's modernization of its carrier air wings.
The F/A-18E/F will offer improved survivability, enhanced multi-mission capability, a 35 percent increase in mission radius, a 50 percent increase in endurance and a 22 percent increase in weapons capacity.