The first of fifteen Super Hornets that was modified under the Service Life Modification (SLM) programme has been delivered to the US Navy. The Rhino will be followed by a second one later this month, with a third one delivered in April 2020. Before years end, a fourth and fifth airframe will be delivered.
With the 18-month SLM, Boeing gives a Super Hornet airframe an extension of its service life from 6,000 to 7,500 flight hours. Later on in 2020, an additional modification programme will start to extent the Super Hornets service life to 10,000 hours and this mod will incorporate the new Block III capabilities too.
From 2021, the SLM work will decrease in time, and it will show an increase in deliveries of aircraft.
The Block III configuration sees capability upgrades that include enhanced conformal fuel tanks for a longer range, network capability, reduced radar signature, advanced cockpit and communication systems.
The updates are expected to keep the Rhino in active service for decades to come.
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