Fighter Jet Work in Missouri Part of Pentagon's $700B Budget

In this Wednesday, April 25, 2018, photo, flight operations mechanic Shawn Edwards, left, removes the left-hand flap shroud from the wing of a 13-year-old F/A-18 Super Hornet in St. Louis. This fighter aircraft, at the end of its original lifespan, was used by the U.S. Navy Gladiators Strike Fighter Squadron based out of Virginia Beach, Va. It is the first Super Hornet of many, set to undergo updates and maintenance to keep it in the fleet for another dozen years. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
In this Wednesday, April 25, 2018, photo, flight operations mechanic Shawn Edwards, left, removes the left-hand flap shroud from the wing of a 13-year-old F/A-18 Super Hornet in St. Louis. This fighter aircraft, at the end of its original lifespan, was used by the U.S. Navy Gladiators Strike Fighter Squadron based out of Virginia Beach, Va. It is the first Super Hornet of many, set to undergo updates and maintenance to keep it in the fleet for another dozen years. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

ST. LOUIS — An old F/A-18 Super Hornet is being refurbished at a hangar at Boeing's headquarters, marking the first of several fighter jets being sent to the St. Louis facility as the Pentagon spends the biggest budget in its history.

Boeing executives and U.S. Navy members will celebrate with an induction ceremony Thursday.

The first-arrived Super Hornet had been flown by the Navy's Gladiators Strike Fighter Squadron in Virginia Beach since 2004. It's among four planes that will undergo upgrades this year at a cost of $73 million to keep them in the fleet for another dozen years.

Boeing has a contract to deliver 134 new F/A-18 Super Hornets over the next few years. Each costs more than $70 million.

At $700 billion, the U.S. defense budget is bigger than any other country. The biggest winners in the military buildup are the country's largest defense contractors, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, which spend millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress.

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