The U.S. Navy has awarded to GE Aircraft Engines (GEAE) a $385 million contract for 73 F414-GE-404 engines to power F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft.The contract, which is expected to be completed by 2002, also covers inlet devices, spare parts, logistics support and production tooling and includes an option, effective through June 2003, for an additional lot of 92 engines valued at $440 million. This is the most recent contract in the Navy's long-range procurement plan to purchase a total of 1,096 F414-GE-400 engines, plus spares, for 548 F/A-18E/F aircraft. Under the terms of earlier contracts for 140 engines, 70 F414-GE-400s are already in service, supporting 29 F/A-18E/F aircraft at Naval Air Stations Lemoore and China Lake in California. Among the most tested fighter engines, the F414-GE-400 demonstrated excellent durability, operability, reliability, and throttle response during more than 31,000 hours of ground and flight testing. In addition, the engine performed flawlessly in powering the F/A-18E/F to the highest grade the aircraft could receive during Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) last February. The engine is currently rated at 22,000 pounds (98 kN) thrust, and GEAE has defined a growth development road map that will increase thrust by as much as 25 percentThe engines will be produced at the GEAE plant in Lynn, Massachusetts, from components manufactured at Lynn and at GEAE plants in Ohio, Vermont, New Hampshire, Kentucky, North Carolina, and New Mexico, as well as by outside suppliers.