Boeing must decide on F/A-18 production in March 2014: executive

Boeing Co (BA) must decide in March 2014 whether to invest tens of millions of dollars to continue production of the F/A-18 fighter jet, a senior Boeing executive said on Monday, underscoring his confidence that sufficient orders would emerge to keep the plane in production until beyond 2020. “I know where my money is betting,” said Mike Gibbons, vice president of F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18 Growler programs at Boeing, told reporters after a U.S. Navy ceremony at the headquarters of the Navy’s aviation command celebrating the 35th anniversary of the first flight of the original F/A-18 Hornet. “We have been extremely bullish about how much of a future we think we have on Super Hornet and Growler production,” Gibbons said, noting that Boeing recently invested substantial amounts in new tools to reduce the cost of building the airplanes at its facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Boeing and its backers have launched a major campaign to press the U.S. military to buy more Super Hornets at a cost of about $51-52 million per plane, including engines, radars and electronic warfare equipment, especially since the Navy’s version of the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT) F-35 fighter will not be ready for combat use on an aircraft carrier until 2019.


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