UPDATE 1-A-12 settlement won't extend Boeing's F/A-18 production line

Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:50pm EST
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* Pentagon arms tester cited issues with jet's radar

* New Pentagon report says F/A-18 not effective for certain threats

By Andrea Shalal-Esa

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - A settlement of a dispute over the cancelled A-12 aircraft calls for Boeing Co to build three more EA-18G electronic attack planes for the U.S. Navy, but those jets will not extend the F/A-18 production line in St. Louis, according to Navy officials and company executives.

A new report by the Pentagon's top arms tester, meanwhile, criticized the Navy for failing to address longstanding deficiencies with the radar used on the F/A-18E/F model of the plane. It said the jet could not be effectively used in certain "threat environments," although details were classified.

The EA-18G electronic attack planes, by contrast, were proving operationally effective, the report said.

The U.S. Justice Department announced a $400 million settlement agreement with Boeing and General Dynamics Corp last week that includes providing the additional jets, which will be paid for by Boeing.

U.S. Navy officials this week said the planes would be built along with 21 Growlers already being funded in fiscal year 2014 and delivered in calendar year 2016.

Boeing officials said the additional jets would not extend production of the F/A-18 line beyond the currently planned date of the end of 2016.   Continued...