There is no alternative to the F/A-18E/F-here, on board the John C. Stennis (CVN-74). It must be purchased to the programmed numbers until the Navy can acquire some stealth.
The recently published Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) properly recognized the F/A-18E/F as the Navy's principal fighter/attack acquisition program. It states that the F/A-18E/F has significantly greater range, increased precision weapons delivery capability, increased carrier payload recovery capability, and increased survivability than the F/A-18C/D. The E/F also can function as a mission tanker, adding significant flexibility to the carrier operating environment.