Navy Contract Starts Blue Angels Transition to Super Hornets
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy has awarded a contract to Boeing for the kits to convert F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighters for use by the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron, more commonly known as the Blue Angels.
Naval Air Systems Command awarded Boeing a $17 million firm, fixed-price order for the kits and documentation needed to convert fleet Super Hornets to a configuration suitable for aerial demonstration flights.
The contract calls for the conversion of nine single-seat F/A-18Es and two F/A-18Fs. The aircraft will replace the legacy F/A-18A/B and later C/D Hornets that the Blue Angels have used in air shows since November 1986.
According to the Blue Angels official website, the conversion of the current Hornets involved having the “nose cannon removed, a smoke-oil tank installed and a spring installed on the stick which applies pressure for better formation and inverted flying. Otherwise, the aircraft that the squadron flies are the same as those in the fleet. Each Blue Angel aircraft is capable of being returned to combat duty aboard an aircraft carrier within 72 hours.”
The contract work is expected to be completed by December 2021.