The Naval Air Systems Command announced on Thursday it intends to negotiate and award a sole-source contract modification to Boeing [BA] for service-life modification (SLM) of F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets in fiscal year 2019.

The posting to the government’s business opportunities site,, said this sole source indefinite-delivery, indefinite quantity award is expected to induct up to 15 FY ’19 SLM aircraft and up to 30 FY ’20 aircraft.

A Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet.  Photo: Boeing.
A Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet. Photo: Boeing.

The contract will support SLM work with aircraft inspections and physical verification of fleet usage; warranty and non-warranty modifications; repairs incident to modification; recurring and non-recurring engineering efforts; logistics; project management; data; and parts, kits, and associated materials.

This work is likely part of the overall effort to upgrade the Navy’s Super Hornets to a Block III version. Block III upgrades aims to increase the aircraft’s service life from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours, add conformal fuel tanks, upgrade to a new Lockheed Martin [LMT] Block II Infrared Search and Track System sensor system, upgrade the active electronically scanned array radar, add new datalinks and computer, enhance the engines, and provide a new cockpit display.

Last April, a Boeing executive said Block III upgrades for new Super Hornets could be incorporated into Block II versions that will begin to enter a SLM in 2018, with their completed advancements ready for use in the early 2030s. The officials said if the Navy opted to upgrade Block II aircraft to the Block III configuration as part of the SLM, deliveries of the aircraft would follow new production Block IIIs by a few years (Defense Daily, April 4, 2017).