Near end for the Super Hornet? Boeing says it may cease production of the F/A-18E/F fighter in 2025

Super Hornet assembly line could be extended until 2027 if aircraft is selected by a foreign customer, company explained

One of the most important fighter aircraft in the US military, the F/A-18 Super Hornet may soon be discontinued. In a statement released on Thursday, Boeing said it intends to cease production of the aircraft at the end of 2025, after the delivery of the last aircraft ordered by the US Navy, its largest operator.

The company, however, says that activities on the Super Hornet assembly line in St. Louis, can be extended to 2027 if the fighter is ordered by a new international customer.

Boeing is currently competing with the F/A-18 for a purchase contract from the Indian Navy, which is also evaluating the naval version of the French Dassault Rafale jet.

The F-14 and the F/A-18 Hornet (USN)

“We are planning for our future, and building fighter aircraft is in our DNA,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing Air Dominance vice president and St. Louis site leader. “As we invest in and develop the next era of capability, we are applying the same innovation and expertise that made the F/A-18 a workhorse for the U.S. Navy and air forces around the world for nearly 40 years.”

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With the end of production of the Super Hornet, Boeing says it will be able to redirect resources to other military aircraft programs, including advanced unmanned vehicles.

The space left by the F/A-18 in the St. Loius could also be leveraged to increase production of the T-7A Red Hawk trainer jet and the MQ-25 Stingray aerial refueling drone, as well as manufacturing the new F-15EX Eagle II fighter jets and wing components for the 777X commercial jet.

One of Hornet’s prototypes in the 1970s: versatile solution for the US Navy (Boeing)

Despite the production shutdown, Boeing stressed that it will continue to develop upgrades for the global fleet of F/A-18 fighter jets and the EA-18G Growler electronic warfare variant.

Introduced by the US Navy in 1999, the Super Hornet is the second generation of the F/A-18 Hornet fighter, with profound modifications in design and onboard systems.

The first version of the aircraft, originally developed by McDonnell Douglas in partnership with Northrop, debuted in 1983. Since then, more than 2,000 units of the fighter in its different variants have been delivered to the USA, Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.


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