updated 12/30/2003 8:04:16 AM ET 2003-12-30T13:04:16

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

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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 of aircraft on order 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. The EA-18G will be able to rapidly locate and destroy surface-to-air missiles.

St. Louis is the home of Boeing’s Integrated Defense Systems unit.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing surged 53 cents to close at $42 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, hitting a 52-week high.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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