Senator Kit Bond Leads Charge to Save Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Missouri Jobs

Jun 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm
Among the cuts Defense Secretary Robert Gates proposed in his 2010 budget in April was for funding of the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter plane. Yesterday Missouri Senator Kit Bond and several colleagues sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore funding for the F/A-18 and, incidentally, 5,000 St. Louis jobs.

The F/A-18 is used by the U.S. Navy and Marines and is, according to the Boeing website,
a combat-proven strike fighter with built-in versatility. The Super Hornet's suite of integrated and networked systems provides enhanced interoperability, total force support for the combatant commander and for the troops on the ground.

Super Hornet in flight. -
Super Hornet in flight.
One F/A-18 costs taxpayers between $29 million and $57 million which, Bond points out, is a relative bargain compared to the $150 million Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), which the Navy hopes will replace the F/A-18 one day. Unfortunately, the JSF does not yet exist, which is one of the many reasons Bond is trying to squeeze more money out of the government for the F/A-18.
In a statement, Bond said,
Underfunding the Super Hornet gambles with our ability to project U.S. power from aircraft carriers, damages our security in the long run by eroding our competitive domestic industrial base, and puts more than 110,000 American jobs at risk.
Bond's letter to the Appropriations Committee, which was also signed by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Mel Martinez (R-Florida), points out that the non-partisan Congressional Research Service predicted a 293-plane strike-fighter shortfall.
The F/A-18E/F is an advanced capability, next-generation aircraft in service around the world today and provides a low-risk and affordable solution to the Navy's tactical fighter shortfall.  The F/A-18E/F has a history of on-time and on-budget delivery, and $1.7 billion in savings has been generated to date by the use of multi-year contracting.