Boeing has been awarded a contract to modernize the US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet fleet. In the early 2020s, Boeing will begin installing initial updates to the aircraft that will convert existing Block II Super Hornets to a new Block III configuration. Among these updates is the installation of an advanced cockpit system by Elbit Systems.
According to Navy Recognition, the Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 in active service for decades to come.
"The initial focus of this program will extend the life of the fleet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours," said Mark Sears, SLM program director. "But SLM will expand to include Block II to Block III conversion, systems grooming and reset and O-level maintenance tasks designed to deliver a more maintainable aircraft with an extended life and more capability. Each of these jets will fly another 10 to 15 years, so making them next-generation aircraft is critical."
Designed by Elbit Systems of America, the advanced cockpit system (ACS) includes mission processors, a low-profile head-up display, and a large 10X19 inch HD display with touch screen and picture-in-picture capabilities, optimizing tactical situation displays, processing advanced applications, and providing high-definition formats for advanced sensor video presentations.