The global aircraft manufacturer also stands ready to assist Malaysia in dealing with funding challenges in acquiring the high-endurance fighter jet, more so, due to financial constraints brought on by the global economic slowdown.
“No aircraft in this competition will come close to the affordability that the Super Hornet brings,” Howard M Berry, Boeing’s vice-president for F/A18E/F International Sales, Global Strike, Defence, Space & Security, told Bernama.
“When you look at the total life cycle cost, from acquisition to support for the aircraft throughout its lifetime, including training, logistics and eventually taking the aircraft out of service, the support typically takes up 70%,” he said.
He said Boeing was aware that every nation, including Malaysia, faced challenges at the moment due to falling oil prices and weaker currencies.
However, he expressed optimism that “in an ever changing world, oil prices will rebound.”
“We have been discussing and working with the Malaysian government. We can do a lot of things financially and deal with any funding challenges it may have in the near term.
“At the end of the day, it will obviously be a political decision and we have to see how that plays out,” Berry said.
Boeing has been negotiating since 2002 on the Super Hornet deal with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), which currently operates eight earlier generation Classic Hornets, the F/A-18Ds.
“We are prepared to stay engaged. This is an important sale for us. We will do everything possible to facilitate the acquisition when the government is ready to move ahead,” he said.
According to Berry, the version of the Super Hornet to be sold to Malaysia is called the Block II, which first went into operation in 2007, and can easily integrate into current aircraft systems, as Malaysia was already flying the Hornet.
Also, the Hornet has only been flying for about 7-8 years, making it arguably the newest aircraft in service with the US military.
Berry said the aircraft to date has seen 1.4 million plus flight hours, and thus, is a mature aircraft and operationally relevant.
Berry said the benefit that RMAF gets is that the Hornet is of a low-risk design.
He said the Super Hornet is flying the most advanced AESA radar, the APG-79 by Raytheon, which is without doubt at the forefront of AESA technology and combat-proven.
Boeing F/A-18E/F Advance Super Hornet twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft.