Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler Aircraft: Background and Issues for Congress [Updated March 19, 2007] [open pdf - 89KB]
From the Summary: "The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the Navy's highest priority aviation modernization program. It is replacing Navy F/A-18C/D Hornet combat aircraft. The decision to undertake F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program was made during a period of great turbulence in Navy aviation modernization. During this time frame the Navy struggled to identify and implement the best way to modernize its aging fleet of F-14 fighters and A-6E attack aircraft. The A-12 program (a stealthy replacement to the A-6E) was terminated in January 1991. The AFX program, another proposed replacement for the A-6E, began in 1991, but was also terminated. […] The Navy's FY2008 budget proposes to increase the overall purchase of F/A- 18E/F aircraft by 22, for a total of 494. It also proposes reducing the overall purchase of EA-18G aircraft by 10, for a total of 80. The Defense Department's Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) of September 30, 2006, estimated the acquisition cost of a 462-aircraft program at $44 billion. The cost of procuring 90 EA-18G electronic attack variants is estimated at $9 billion. The Super Hornet has been approved for international export, and Australia is reportedly poised to purchase 24 F/A-18E/Fs as a bridge to its purchase of Joint Strike Fighters. Key issues surrounding the program relate to the total number of Super Hornets to be procured."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30624