When President-elect Donald Trump tweeted on December 22 that he had asked Boeing to price-out an alternative to the F-35 fighter based on the company’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, he stunned the defense industry. Most observers had expected Super Hornet production to end in the near future, but Trump’s tweet capped a year in which multiple new sales opportunities emerged. First, the Navy said it needed more Super Hornets to fill a gap in capabilities created by lagging delivery of the F-35’s carrier variant. Second, the Obama Administration approved sale of 40 Super Hornets to Kuwait, raising the prospect of follow-on sales to other Persian Gulf countries. Third, the Canadian government announced it would buy 18 Super Hornets while launching a competition to decide what plane should replace its aging fleet of CF-18 fighters — the same airframe from which Super Hornet was originally derived. And then Trump sent out his tweet, nearly on Christmas Eve, raising further sales possibilities. It seems prospects are brightening for the Super Hornet. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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