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29 Dec 03. The U.S. Navy on Monday said it had ordered 210 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet attack jets worth $8.5 billion from Boeing Co. and would pay Boeing $979m to develop and demonstrate a new variant, the EA-18G, with upgraded weapons.

The Navy had previously ordered 222 Super Hornets under a five-year deal that expires in 2004 and had been expected to buy a total of at least 548 by 2010, according to Boeing’s Web site.

Deliveries under the latest contract will run from 2007 through 2011 at an average rate of 42 a year from Boeing’s assembly line in St. Louis. The Navy has an option to buy up to six more jets per year. Boeing is also developing the EA-18G, an electronic attack jet carrying jamming equipment and defensive missiles.

Boeing employs more than 2,000 subcontractors on the F/A-18 program, with major work done by Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co. and General Electric Co., which builds the aircraft’s twin engines.

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