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   Boeing employees in St. Louis should know later this year if they're going to keep building F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets for the U.S. Navy after 2016.  

   The Navy had planned to switch over to the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters built by Lockheed-Martin.  But the F-35 project has been plagued with delays, cost overruns and other problems.  So the omnibus spending bill signed into law last week (Jan. 17) contains a down payment of $75 million for 22 of Boeing's F-18s, even though the Navy didn't ask for them.  

   The law requires Navy officials to take another look at adding to the existing F-18 fleet as a hedge against more problems with the F-35.  

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