EXCLUSIVE: Northrop Grumman’s internal F/A-18 forecast (part 1)


An internal Northrop Grumman presentation inadvertently posted on the public Internet provides a rare glimpse of the F/A-18 program’s current manufacturing challenges and sales prospects over the next decade.

A cached snapshot of the 53-page presentation, dated 12 March 2008, has been preserved by the Google search engine on this web site:



(WARNING: Link contains presentation marked “proprietary level 1″ by Northrop.)

Most illuminating is a slide revealing a potential delivery profile of new F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs from 2006 to 2019. The chart reveals a proposal for an 18-aircraft plus-up by the USN in fiscal 2010 and 2011, and estimates a 100-aircraft buy in a third multi-year procurement deal that is currently under negotiation.

The slide also details the Boeing/Northrop strategy for winning sales from Australia and Canada — two members of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development partnership. Northrop projects possible further Australian orders for 6 EA-18Gs in 2013 and 24 F/A-18E/Fs from 2014-17. Canada is also listed as a potential buyer from 2015 to 2018 of 24 F/A-18E/Fs.

In some cases, Northrop’s projections are already out-dated or curiously incomplete. Neither Brazil nor Denmark are listed on the slide as potential F/A-18 customers, despite Boeing’s ongoing sales campaigns in both countries. Boeing has since decided to withdraw from the contract competition in Switzerland.

“Potential” F/A-18E/F and EA-18G delivery profile

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
US Navy (F/A-18E/F) 37 27 16 9
US Navy + UP (F/A-18E/F) 4 14
US Navy (EA-18G) 7 14 22 20 16 3 1
US Navy FY10-13 MYP3 9 32 30 24 5
Australia 10 12 2
Australia Follow-on (EA-18G) 6
Australia Follow-on (F/A-18E/F) 6 10 8
Japan 5 9 9 9 9 9
India 2 16 17 19 18 22 22 10
Greece 6 8 8 8
Switzerland 3 5 6 5 3
Kuwait 6 8 8 2
Bulgaria 3 5 5 3
Malaysia 8
Canada 6 8 8 2
Total 44 51 54 54 64 86 92 75 51 39 24 10


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18 Responses to EXCLUSIVE: Northrop Grumman’s internal F/A-18 forecast (part 1)

  1. Royce 17 December, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    It’s interesting that we have the Navy buying the Super Hornet in high numbers at the same time the USAF is refusing to buy the latest versions of the F-16 or F-15 because they say the aircraft won’t be survivable against modern air defense systems. Must play hell with the creation of some kind of joint air war doctrine.

  2. Stephen Trimble 17 December, 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    Yes, it does arch the eyebrow, doesn’t it?

    Of course, when NAVAIR is being diplomatic, they usually say they have a different mission than the USAF’s air superiority/air dominance. Air superiority is part of what the Navy does, but their job also demands more multi-role flexibility.

    But sometimes NAVAIR isn’t so diplomatic, and say things like they want nothing to do with the USAF’s plans to develop a dual-role air dominance missile. They think AMRAAM and HARM/AARGM work just fine, thank you very much.

  3. Royce 17 December, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    What I don’t get is the numbers involved. The Navy fighter gap is supposed to be showing up in 2015-2020, but to extend production of the Super Hornet past the current 494 target (scheduled to be reached in 2014) will require about $1.8 billion a year for 20 fighters annually. Problem is, F-35 funding requirements really start kicking in around FY2010-2011. I’m wondering if it doesn’t make sense for the Navy to accelerate procurement of the F-35 if it can.

  4. ELP 17 December, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    There is no way to “accelerate” F-35 procurement. The factory plan is maxed out as-is. Still a lot of learning curve to happen with the F-35. Including how many can be made per month as outlined in the schedule.

  5. SMSgt Mac 17 December, 2008 at 11:33 pm #

    Never discount the inertia of The Navy Way. Look at precision weapons, until Desert Storm was underway they weren’t moving fast on those at all and they really regretted it.

    I’m sure there are those in NAVAIR who may think the F-18E/F is stealthy ‘enough’ because I took grad school courses quite a few years ago with a NAWC F-18E/F driver who just ‘knew’ his plane was stealthier than it was until I convinced him to look into it a little closer. To hazard an educated guess, the E/F is probably about the same degree improvement over the C/D in LO as the B-1B is over the B-1A. Of course the NAVAIR also has their UCAS-D development which may be their ‘day-1′ planes in their plans and you can assume those will be VERY stealthy..

    All in all I’d say they’re just modernizing in their own Navy way. They got the F-18E/F allegedly as a just-in-case what became the F-35 never came about. Now any Navy fickleness concerning the F-35 can endanger the whole program. Lovely.

  6. L2L 19 December, 2008 at 1:23 pm #

    So nobody thought, “omg, I’m looking at a document that is someone’s mistake — that wasn’t supposed to be publicly available…I should notify the parties involved.”

    Instead, [insert attention-deprived journalist name here] decided, “oooohhhh neeto, I can’t wait to plaster somebody else’s work all over the internet just so I can say look at me, look at me, I’m a serious journalist.”

    There’s no difference between this and tracking the movements of Lindsey Lohan. Symbolic of journalism today:
    1) Lack of integrity
    2) Lack of responsibility
    3) Lack of intellectual value
    4) Entertainment wins always wins over news
    5) More agenda’s behind the door than those covered in the stories

    What would you think of someone who found a wallet that had some nude pictures of the person’s wife and plastered them all over the internet? Then realized that person was their friend, boss, coworker, or someone they generally depended on for their own national security and posted them anyway. Same thing. Great police work there, Joe.

  7. Stephen Trimble 19 December, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    Well done! This is the first ever association of Lindsay Lohan and this blog. My Google profile will rise spectacularly.

    Seriously, I am no stranger to leaks of proprietary information. It happens all the time. Sometimes they lead to news stories, sometimes not. In this case, Northrop’s internal projections — which they plastered on the Internet, mind you, not me — raise very interesting and publicly relevant questions about the program’s strategy and outlook going forward. That’s a matter of public interest.

    And, for the record, may I also recommend not carrying nude photos of your wife in your wallet. That’s just weird.

  8. Jeff 19 December, 2008 at 7:37 pm #

    Regarding the stealthiness, or lack thereof, of an F/A-18E/F, a year or two ago, Boeing proposed a modified forward fuselage and other changes that it said would reduce the RCS without significantly increasing the cost of a Super Hornet. The changes would be primarily in shape, not in materials, which is why the cost increase would be small. It was proposed as a fallback if the F-35 is cancelled or severely curtailed or as an interim in case the F-35 is seriously delayed.

    Boeing has also proposed various avionics and other improvements to the E/F models that could be combined with the “stealth version” — or not. That offers at least four versions. The current one, the “stealth” version, the current airframe with the avionics upgrades, and the “stealth-plus” version. There would probably be several degrees of upgrade for the avionics, and possibly an engine upgrade, so with all of the various combinations, the U.S. and its Allies have a lot to choose from, either instead of the F-35, or in smaller numbers while waiting for it, or in a high/low mix that would involve additional “Extra-Super” Hornets.

  9. L2L 22 December, 2008 at 5:48 pm #

    Sure it happens all the time, but minimizing it is an honorable pursuit. It’s somewhat like classified information. If you find it openly available on the internet, that doesn’t make it any less classified. And being party to drawing attention to it puts you on the conspirators list just the same. Just because it’s out there doesn’t make it any more right to publicize it. If Northrop “plastered” it all over the internet, it strikes me as a location most surfers wouldn’t happen across before they happened across a news story about it. Oh well…water under the bridge now.

  10. Jackqueline Dinovi 28 January, 2010 at 3:42 am #

    Lindsay is awesome! She is talented and everyone who do not think so is just envious. . But I am kinda depressed that she is a drug addict. She needs some genuine like to get her life in order!

  11. Leia Fanno 18 May, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    Ha ha, Linsanity is such a train wreck. It is so sad. I can’t decide if I should feel sorry for her or pray for an intervention for her. Another case of a young starling that was destroyed by the limelight. I do hope eventually she gets some help and she can find the help she needs to regain some bit of dignity.

  12. Heather 21 July, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    Reggie could have had it all. Now look, stripped of his Heisman display. Too sad.

  13. Baby Video Monitor Reviewer 21 July, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Wonderful insights. I used to be attracted to Lindsay when she started out but with the recent troubles, I’ve had it with her. Its not good shes going to jail.

  14. Diabetes Reversal 23 July, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    did you see lindsay break down in court? serves her right!

  15. Ernesto Fissel 18 September, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Is it me or does she look thinner? She looks good though

  16. Wesley Simington 23 September, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    Im a realistic ­instance of a realistic woman,I’m keen on food stuff and men and a level of comfort. It is only that at some point, the unending prattle of fashion is now a yell around my head. I cannot disregard the idiocies anylonger,I stroll past a store that stocks 6in heels and I am just offended,Banana ­Republic? ­Furious once more, Selfridges will be ­loathsome “I shop therefore I am” advertisements, a manifesto for dolts? Really do not even go there. I’ve had it with this tyrant fool slinging darts on every billboard and publication and Tv screen.I wish to pitch a spear back.

  17. katrite 29 September, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    So… who else thinks lindsay should be in prison right now? -Kat

  18. OnlineSurvey Guy 14 November, 2010 at 6:50 am #

    Today I read that Lidsey just announced that she wants to open her own rehab. I have nothing agains her but she must have been high when she came up with that idea!

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