Pentagon on Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet order: Never mind
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The day after media outlets reported that the Navy had begun the process of soliciting bids for another 36 F/A-18 Super Hornets, Navy officials apparently changed their minds.
A notice on a federal procurement website that the Naval Air Systems Command intended to negotiate a contract for up to 36 more of the St. Louis-built fighter jets was canceled Thursday, about two weeks after it was posted and just a day after it was widely reported in defense industry trade publications. A spokeswoman for the Naval Air Systems Command did not respond to questions asking why.
The “pre-solicitation notice” — a preliminary step in the military contracting process — was seen as a sign that the Navy might be hedging its bets on an upcoming order for Lockheed Martin’s Joint Strike Fighter, by keeping the door open to buy more F/A-18s instead.
Such an order would be a boon for St. Louis, where thousands of people work at Boeing Co. and its suppliers building the Super Hornet. Production on the F/A-18 will start to wind down next year; another 36 jets would sustain it for a year or more, and make it easier to land foreign order that might prolong assembly beyond that.
It’s not clear why the pre-solicitation notice was quietly posted or why it was suddenly taken down.