Boeing to keep Hornets flying

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Boeing has received more than $450m in US Department of Defense contracts for spare parts for the US Marine Corps and Navy fleets of F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter jets.

Boeing received a five-year contract to provide more than 3,000 new flight control surfaces for the F/A-18A-D. This $391m order replaces a previous five-year agreement. Flight control surfaces are hinged or movable airfoils designed to change the aircraft's attitude during flight. The parts will be assembled in St. Louis with deliveries scheduled to begin this year and continuing through 2013.

The contracts also include 23 spare inner wings that will restart a portion of the production line, which originally closed in 2000. The inner wing is the largest portion of the wing system that does not fold up when the plane is stowed on an aircraft carrier. The wings will be built in St. Louis with first delivery scheduled for 2009. The 23 wings will cost a total of $59.5m.

The A-D models of the F/A-18 were designed before the current E and F models, called the Super Hornet, which is still in production. The Hornet is flown by seven international customers. Some of the spare parts will be produced for these allied military services under the recent agreements.