Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boeing Poised to Clinch $3B-Plus Kuwait F/A-18 Order (Print)

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Boeing Poised to Clinch $3B-Plus Kuwait F/A-18 Order (Print)

Article excerpt

*Kuwait's expected $3 billion Super Hornet order will keep production going in St. Louis through 2019.

*The U.S. Navy also has requested, and a congressional committee has recommended, funding for 12 new Super Hornets in next year's budget.

*Denmark and Canada are also weighing possible orders for Super Hornets, as well as Malaysia and Belgium.

* Without additional orders, Boeing's production of Super Hornets and Growlers will end in 2017.

Model: F/A-18E/F

Length: 60.3 feet

Height: 16 feet

Wingspan: 44.9 feet

Maximum takeoff weight: 66,000 pounds

Crew: One in E, two in F

Airspeed: Mach 1.8+

Ceiling: 50,000+ feet.

Combat range: 1,275 nautical miles, with two Sidewinder air-to- air missiles

Armament: One M61A1/A2 Vulcan 20mm cannon. Payload can include air-to-air, anti-ship and guided attack missiles, smart bombs and other munitions.

Source: U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON * In what could prove to be a major boost to the St. Louis economy, oil-rich Kuwait is expected to announce in coming weeks an order for 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

It's a $3 billion-plus deal that will keep production humming at Boeing in St. Louis well into 2019, according to people familiar with the deal.

It's a significant coup for the St. Louis economy, which until recently was bracing for the likely shutdown of production of the Super Hornet and its electronics warfare sibling, the EA-18G Growler, as early as next year, as orders ran out.

Boeing is the St. Louis region's largest industrial employer with about 14,500 employees, with the vast majority working in north St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

Kuwait, which operates a fleet of earlier F/A-18 models, has signed a formal letter stating its firm plans to buy newer-model Boeing jets, according to one of the people who is familiar with the deal but was not authorized to speak publicly.

A second source confirmed that the U.S. government was working with Kuwait to approve the sale of advanced Boeing fighter jets, but gave no further details.

One U.S. official said the proposed Kuwaiti purchase of Super Hornets would be discussed as part of President Barack Obama's summit meeting with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders next week but said it was not clear the deal would be finalized then.

The expected deal would make Kuwait the second foreign country after Australia to order the new Boeing jets.

U.S. government officials declined further comment.

The Kuwait order, as well as recent moves by lawmakers to approve the U.S. Navy's request for 12 extra Super Hornets, should now provide sufficient comfort for Boeing to bet its own money to extend its St. Louis production line. It is currently expected to shut down at the end of 2017 without new orders.

Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson said a near-term Middle Eastern order and congressional funding for 12 more Super Hornets would allow the company to continue delivering jets without a break in the production line. …

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