Illustration photo – American F-18E Super Hornet over Iraq.
Seattle – The American company Boeing plans to end production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which appeared in the movie Top Gun: Maverick last year. Over four decades, it delivered over 2,000 of these machines. The company announced this in a press release today. The last of these machines is to be delivered to the US Navy in 2025, after which it expects the end of this production line.
About 1,500 workers, from mechanics to clerical staff, involved in the machine's production will be transferred to other military aircraft programs. Funds will be added to those after the Super Hornet production line is closed, the spokeswoman of the company said. Boeing plans at its center in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, which focuses on, among other things, defense and security, to build three new plants. Recruitment of new employees is expected.
The Super Hornet is the second Boeing aircraft to be retired this month. On the first day of the month, the aircraft manufacturer took delivery of its last Jumbo Jet 747. The huge plane with the characteristic hump at the front made its first flight in 1969, when it was the largest commercial airliner in the world and the first plane with two aisles.
The fighter has been a key product of Boeing's defense division since 1997, when the company merged with McDonnell Douglas. He developed the F/A-18 Hornet in the 1970s. It was then the first aircraft with carbon fiber wings and the first fighter equipped with an electric fly-by-wire control system, which replaced tie rods, cables and hydromechanical transmissions for control.
Hornets entered active service in 1983 and completed their first combat flights three years later from the aircraft carrier Coral Sea. They played a key role during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and covered the battlefield in Afghanistan a decade later. The Super Hornet, a larger version with more powerful engines, entered service in 1999.
However, these fighters were eventually eclipsed by Lockheed Martin's newer F-35 aircraft. Sales of Super Hornets have declined in recent years as potential customers such as Germany and Canada have opted for Lockheed's more advanced fighters, said aerospace consultant Richard Aboulafia.
Boeing is still in the running to sell the F/A-18 to India, but the French Rafale fighter is considered the favourite, Aboulafia added. The American planemaker said it could continue to produce the Super Hornet for another two years if the Indian Navy chooses its aircraft.