Unbelievably Strategic

Le Bourget, France—The Pentagon’s decision to add more than 40 additional F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the Navy’s fleet and sign another multiyear buy is “an unbelievably strategic and positive event” for Boeing, said Chris Chadwick, the company’s Military Aircraft president. Chadwick told reporters here Tuesday at the Paris Air Show that extension of US government orders will allow Boeing to aggressively market the aircraft to more countries, including those signed up to get the F-35 strike fighter built by Lockheed Martin. Prime candidates will be countries like Australia that already operate F/A-18s, Chadwick said. “We are talking to F-35 customers, just to let them know what their options are,” given delays in the F-35, he asserted. Only Britain has apparently rebuffed the discussions, having “clearly stated they are interested in the F-35,” he noted. Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 are “in the sweet spot of our customers’ needs” right now, as they are capable aircraft nearing the end of their production runs, and therefore at their lowest purchase cost ever, he said. Chadwick expressed optimism that some countries will see a deal and buy or switch to the F/A-18 or F-15.