Per AvWeek June 18, 2007 issue they report that Boeing has offered the USN a deal on Super Hornets at an all-time-low-low-low flyaway price of $49.99m per new build copy, guaranteed for a third multi-year buy of 170 aircraft. However the bad thing though is that the USN stated committment is only for 92 more aircraft. The article states however that an unidentified Pentagon official says that the deal is going to be pretty hard for the USN to turn down. Apparently, the USN has told Congress that has a shortfall of about 50 fighters due in part to an accelerated burn rate of fighter hours compbined with decreased projections of the design life of existing aircraft.
So my point is perhaps the USMC may be swayed to pick up the difference in aircraft that the USN might not want or be able to use? In my opinion because the USMC has (over)spent so much on the V-22 program combined with their financial committment to the H-1 upgrades and CH-53K, they just don't have the money to replace their F/A-18D's with any comparable JSF let alone their EA-6B's with a EAQ version of the JSF.
In that regard, would it not make sense to replace all of their F/A-18D's with F/A-18F's - they could then put them back on the ship and use them as they should have otherwise always been able to (short range has kept F/A-18D's off USN carriers) and they they could also replace their EA-6B's with EA-18G's because there is no fiscally responsbile way for the USMC to spend even more moeney on an EAW version of the JSF which may very well be delayed even further.
70 to 80 F/A-18F's with perhaps some being able to be converted to EA-18G's would be about all the Corps would need, and of course they could utilize all of the cost synergies with the USN so the program would be about as inexpensive as the Corps could ever hope to come across as far as acquiring new aircraft. Sell the existing F/A-18D's to some other country like Kuwait or Malyasia while they still have some value to them.
A block II F/A-18F would be the greatest Marine fighter jet since the F-4J/S and arguably perhaps the greatest in terms of most lethal, capable, and universal that they have ever had - I don't know why the Corps would not be all over this?!
The Corps cannot get out of the FAC(A) role and the JSF with dual tandem seats would just not work with the STOVL F-35B, and if the Marines are gong to get out of the EAW business than why not jsut give their remaining aircraft to the Navy today and be done with it?
[Edited 2007-06-24 20:32:55]