Even “Top Gun” couldn’t save the F/A-18 Super Hornet.
Boeing announced on Thursday that it plans to end production of the fighter jet at the end of 2025 after a final delivery to the US Navy.
Production of the aircraft could be extended until 2027 if India places an order, the company said.
The first F/A-18 debuted in 1983 and was built by McDonnell Douglas, which merged with Boeing in 1997. Over 2,000 Hornets, Super Hornets and Growlers have been delivered to the US military and governments many allies, including Canada, Finland, Australia and Malaysia.
But the plane’s fate has been in doubt in recent years. The Navy had planned not to purchase a Super Hornet after fall 2021, citing the age of the aircraft’s design. Only an act of Congress kept production going.
News of the aircraft’s recall comes less than a month after Boeing delivered the last of its iconic jumbo jet 747 which has been used in passenger and freight service for half a century.
Boeing said ending F/A-18 production would allow it to focus on future military aircraft, manned or unmanned, and ramp up production of other defense programs. The company announced plans to build three new facilities in St. Louis, where the F/A-18s are assembled.
“We are planning our future, and building fighter jets is in our DNA,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing’s Air Dominance division.
The company said it will continue to develop upgrades to the current fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers. The latter is an electronic version of the jet based on a transporter.
The Super Hornet featured prominently in the 2022 film “Top Gun: Maverick,” with Tom Cruise reprising his role in a 1980s film about a Navy pilot. The sequel got positive reviews and was part of highest grossing movies from last year.
Learn how to navigate and build trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter examining what leaders need to succeed. Register here.