Status of the F-18 Naval Strike Fighter Program

PSAD-77-24: Published: Mar 1, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 1977.

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The F-18 is a Department of the Navy fighter/attack aircraft being developed by the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, with engines developed by the General Electric Corporation. The F-18 fighter aircraft's primary mission will be fighter escort, and its secondary mission will be fleet air defense. The attack aircraft's mission will be interdiction and close air support. The Navy plans to produce 800 F-18 aircraft: 430 fighters, 310 attack aircraft, and 60 two-seat trainers. The program will cost about $13 billion for development and production. Unit procurement cost was estimated at $13.7 million on September 30, 1976.

The F-18 development program appears to be on schedule. However program changes could occur because (1) letter contracts with McDonnell-Douglas and General Electric were not definitized as planned due to cost problems; (2) cost could increase $86 to $196 million if electronic countermeasures are replaced by new systems; (3) program cost could increase if the Navy decides to develop a reconnaissance version of the F-18; and (4) procurement costs may be reduced if a land version of the F-18 is developed for sale to foreign governments.

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