to begin in fiscal 2010 and last through 2013. The
Navy already plans to buy 89 Super Hornets through
the traditional procurement process after the current
multiyear contract expires.
House and Senate defense authorizers, while not
specifically mandating a third multiyear procurement,
are directing the Navy to look at the option of buying
more Super Hornets.
House authorizers are allowing the service $100
million in its Super Hornet budgets for so-called “
cost-reduction initiatives” that would be critical to obtaining congressional authorization of a multiyear agreement next year.
Defense appropriators also are acknowledging the
potential shortfall crisis.
The Senate appropriators, as of press time, funded the
request for 23 F/A-18E/F and 22 EA-18G Growler aircraft, and acknowledged the need to keep the F/A- 18 line
open. House counterparts also fully funded the Hornet
and the Growler request and acknowledged the need to
keep the options open on another multiyear contract.
At press time Sept. 15, neither the House nor the Senate
had voted on the 2009 defense appropriations bill. ■
Roxana Tiron is a defense reporter at The Hill newspaper.
The lead aircraft of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham
Lincoln’s two F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadrons, the
“Bounty Hunters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, above,
and the “Kestrels” of VFA 137, below, fly over the carrier June
27 in the Persian Gulf.