The Navy has awarded


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an $8.6 billion multiyear contract to produce an additional 210 F/A-18 Super Hornets aircraft and a $1 billion contract for system design and development of the EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft.

The Navy will purchase 42 aircraft in each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009. The agreement provides the Navy with the flexibility to increase the quantity of aircraft on order by as many as six per year.

The five-year SDD program for the EA-18G runs from fiscal year 2004 until early fiscal year 2009, and covers all laboratory, ground test and flight tests from component-level testing through EA-18G weapons system performance flight-testing.

"The multiyear contract and the development contract for the electronic attack variant ensure that the U.S. Navy has the most capable, versatile and affordable fighter aircraft well into the next century," said John Lockard, Boeing senior vice president of naval systems. "These contracts continue to evolve the Super Hornet to latest technology and benefit our U.S. Navy customer, the taxpayer, our suppliers, and our Boeing workforce."

Shares of Boeing reached $43.27 after hours after closing earlier at $42 on the

New York Stock Exchange