US Navy has plans to buy dozens of F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets to deal with shortage of strike fighters aboard carriers.
The US Navy also has decided to get rid of its older F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets in coming years, Reuters reported Saturday.
The plan is yet to be finalized and is likely to be implemented soon as part of the fiscal 2018 budget, said an official.
If implemented, the plan would deliver dozens of new orders for Boeing and keep its St. Louis production line running for many more years.
"We would soon divest from legacy Hornets to decrease the strike fighter shortage and “to best prepare future air wings for possible threats,” an official said.
“We are eyeing to purchase many squadrons of Super Hornets and also continue with efforts to bring on the F-35 carrier variant,” the official added.
The postponements in the fielding of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet's carrier variant, prolonged maintenance times for older model Hornets and also higher usage rates has led to shortage of about 70 fighter jets in coming years.
The company had suffered a setback last month when Congress failed to include 12 Super Hornets in the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill, opening a potential gap in the Boeing production line until several foreign orders for Kuwait and Canada are finalized.
The $618.7 billion bill was passed last week by the US House of Representatives, and the Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.
The older model Hornets could be transferred to the Marine Corps, which has its own maintenance issues, including a lack of spare parts.