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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded a contract to Boeing for 44 F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft over the next two years.

About 13,000 people work on the Growler and Super Hornet production lines in Missouri and it's responsible for 60,000 jobs nationwide.

The announcement is viewed as great news for now, but it is a temporary life line.

Without Congress approving the Navy's request for 22 more Growlers, production of both the Growler and Super Hornet will end in 2016.

Missouri and Illinois congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have been fighting hard to continue funding for the fighter jets.

"The Growler jams enemy radar and basically creates an electronic fog around American aircraft, keeping troops safe from surface to air missiles or enemy fighters," said Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri).

The Navy wants Boeing's growlers to compliment Lockeed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, which has stealth capabilities, but not the electronic jamming systems of the Growler.

"We will operate F/A-18E/F and F-35 aircraft together from our aircraft carriers through the 2030s," said Capt. Frank Morley, PMA-265 program manager.

Critics say drones are the future of war and spending on the F-35 or Growler isn't smart. The Growler and Super Hornet programs employee about 13,000 people in Missouri and 60,000 nationwide.

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