Super Hornets Could Launch Their Own UAVs

by John Reed

SAINT LOUIS — Engineers here with aerospace titan Boeing are considering a number of improvements to the company’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter to keep it competitive on the international market for at least another 10 years, officials said. One idea is to give a Super Hornet some aircraft of its own.

Among the potential upgrades to the E and F-model jets is the ability to launch and control unmanned aerial vehicles. Boeing engineers are working on developing avionics that would allow Super Hornets to carry a drone similar to the latest version of Insitu’s ScanEagle UAV, dubbed the “compressed-carriage Scan Eagle,” in a canister on the jet, said Mike Gibbons, the company’s vice president of operations for its F/A-18s and E/A-18G Growlers.