The increasing complexity of the steps required to land weapons on targets is driving greater need for electronic attack aircraft like Boeing's E/A-18G Growler.

"There is an ever growing place for this airplane," Capt Frank Morley, the US Navy's Super Hornet programme manager, tells reporters during a Farnborough media briefing.

The sensors carried by Growler are becoming more "critical to putting weapons on targets," he adds.

Morley's comments come as Boeing seeks additional orders from the US military and foreign partners for its F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and Growlers.

If no new orders come in, Boeing's St Louis production line for the combat type could fall silent by the end of 2016.

Although no new aircraft were included in President Obama's fiscal year 2015 budget request, the House of Representatives has approved a 12 aircraft purchase, although this still needs ratification by the US Senate.

Morley says the navy has been preparing in the event that additional orders get the go-ahead, and he says the US continues pursuing foreign buyers, though he declines to name them.

The USN and Boeing have been working on a number of projects recently aimed at modernising the Super Hornet, which Morley says will fly until at least 2035.

In October 2013 the service reached operational capability with a new distributed targeting system that Boeing says provides better situational awareness and more precise munitions delivery.

And in February this year the USN and Boeing completed the first flight of an aircraft with a new infrared search and track pod, says Morley.

The USN is also working on software updates that will improve sensor integration and radar performance, Morley adds.

Source: Flight Daily News