Anticipating potential delays and uncertainty about the future of the F-35A, the Australian Defence has requested to buy up to 24 Boeing Super Hornet fighters – 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft and 12 EA-18G Growler Electronic Attack aircraft from the USA, at an estimated cost of $3.7 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US Congress.
“We placed a letter of request [LOR] with the United States authorities to enable us to investigate the potential purchase of up to 24 more Super Hornets.” Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith said, adding that the F-35 “has been subject to very serious scheduling delays and that’s what’s causing us to risk a gap in capability…. “We’re now looking not just to the Super Hornets covering a gap in capability, but whether into the longer term it makes sense for Australia to have a mixed fleet — a mixed fleet of Super Hornets, Growlers and Joint Strike Fighters, which is what you essentially see the United States Navy embarking upon.” Aviation Week wrote.
Canada is also considering the F/A-18E/F as an alternative to the F-35, CBC News reports. According to data released by Boeing, Canada could save about C$23 billion over the 42 year lifespan of the aircraft. Boeing claims its Super Hornet would cost about half the cost of the F-35.