The Navy is scaling back plans to modernize F/A-18C Hornet fighters. The plan initially called for converting 30 of the fighters to the F/A-18C+ configuration – enough to support two squadrons. That figure had been reduced to 25, Seapower magazine reported June 5. Now, only 19 planes will be converted.
The upgrades include installation of an APG-73 radar, Link 16, color cockpit and moving-map displays, better infrared countermeasures, a common ejection seat for the aircrew, and the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System. The upgrade also included extension of each plane’s service life to 8,000 flight hours, up from 6,000 hours.
The work is taking place at Boeing’s facility at Cecil Field Naval Air Station, Fla.
To date, three aircraft have been converted to the C+ configuration. Of the two delivered to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VFMA) 115, one was lost in a mishap, Seapower reported. The third C+ plane was delivered in May to VMFA-112, at Fort Worth Naval Air Station, Texas.