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Boeing Wins $9.6 B Navy Contract

The Navy awarded Boeing Co. a roughly $9.6 billion contract to supply 210 additional F/A-18 Super Hornets jet fighters and to design the EA-18G airborne electronic attack aircraft.

Under the contract, announced Monday by Boeing's St. Louis-based defense division, the Navy will buy 42 aircraft in each of the fiscal years 2005 through 2009. The deal gives the Navy the flexibility to increase the number by as many as six per year.

The five-year design-and-development program for the EA-18G runs from fiscal year 2004 until early fiscal year 2009.

This is the second multiyear contract for the Super Hornet program, which already has produced 170 of the aircraft for the Navy. The first contract calls for the production of up to 222 Super Hornets and ends next year.

The EA-18G will be capable of self-protection, freeing up dedicated escort aircraft for strikes and other missions. It will be able to rapidly locate and destroy surface-to-air missiles.

The deal with the Navy comes even as Boeing is being investigated by the Pentagon over its recruitment of an Air Force official while she was overseeing the company's contracts.

The Pentagon has postponed plans to lease 20 air refueling tankers from Boeing and buy an additional 80 while its internal auditors examine that deal. Boeing last month fired the former Air Force official, Darleen Druyun, and the chief financial officer, Michael Sears, who had approached Druyun about working for Boeing. The scandal has also led to the resignation of Boeing's chairman and chief executive, Phil Condit.

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