The F/A-18 is an impressive 2-engine multi-role supersonic fighter jet
and a attack aircraft for usage from aircraft carriers and conventional
air bases. The primary tasks of the hornet are air superiority, fighter
escort, suppression of enemy air defence, reconnaissance, forward air
control (FAC) and day and night attack missions. The USA F/A-18 can be
equipped with AIM-9
Sidewinder, AIM-7 Sparrow, AIM-120
AMRAAM, Harpoon, AGM-88
missiles, AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapon (JSOW), Joint
Direct Attack Ammunitions (JDAM), several general purpose bombs, mines
and rockets. The newest version (Super Hornet) has a improved AIM-9 missile
and can also use laser
guided paveway bombs.
The F/A-18 was developed to support the F-14 Tomcat
aircraft onboard of United States Navy aircraft carriers. The hornet pilot
can do air-to-air combats and air-to-surface combats by simply pushing
a button in the cockpit.
The Hornet is further development
of the YF-17 which was a prototype from the project of the development
of the F-16. Years ago, Iran has offered
to share the development costs of the F-18. This came never true.
There exist the following F/A-18 versions:
a) F/A-18A and C single seater
b) F/A-18B and D doubleseaters. B models are mainly used for training,
D model for operational purposes.
c) F/A-18E and F (Super Hornet)
d) EA-18G Growler Attack aircraft only for
There have been manufactured more than 400 F/A-18 A and B Hornets. The
F/A-18C and D are having instead of the A and B model better opportunities
by night attack, precision bombing, lower recognition by radar. About
2010 the US Navy will probably replace EA-6B Prowler by the F/A-18G "Growler"
a modified F/A-18E/F. The Growler is for the Electronic warfare.
The Super Hornet was developed as a result of the success of the hornet.
It will replace the F-14D Tomcat and the older C/D Hornets. The
advanced F/A-18E and F Super Hornet in comparison to their predecessors;
they can fly longer, have a larger fuel tank, lower fuel use (Thrust Specific
Fuel Consumption), larger wings, 2 more pylons for bombs, they can carry
the most advanced bombs like JDAM. The Super hornet has also a larger
bring back capacity.
The aircraft has a 25% larger wing surface then the normal hornet, 42%
less components, a larger range, more payload, powerful engine with a
larger intern fuel capacity. It was made for a life cycle of 6000 hours.
The first delivery of the Super hornet for the United States Navy started
in 2002 an the first operational mission of the super hornet where flown
from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz by the VFA-14 and VFA-41 squadron.
The Hornet has supported missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The
US Navy has 484 Super Hornets on order. The Super Hornet is also in service
with the Australian Air Force to fulfill the gap until the F-35 arrives.
Super hornet is quipped with the Raytheon AN/APG-79 AESA Radar, ATFLIR,
Forward-looking infrared targeting pod, AN/ALE-50 towed decoy, laser-guided
weapons such as the Paveway and JSOW.
2011, Boeing unveiled new options for the F/A-18, like the GE-141 Enhanced
F/A-18E takeoff from aircraft carrier, first testing his primary flight
control (spoilers, horizontal stabilo and rudder), halfway the movie a EA-6B
taxies in front
States Marines Corps
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has about 168 Hornets in the F/A-18A,
F/A-18C and F/A-18CN Hornet version. These are primary used to intercept
and destroy enemy aircraft under all-weather conditions and attack and
destroy surface targets.
F/A-18 in other countries
The F/A-18 is also in service with the air forces of: Australia, Canada,
Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, Swiss and Finland.
The Australian Air Force has 71 F/A-18A/B hornet fighter jets. Australia
used them during the opening of Operation Iraqi Freedom (war against Iraq
The Canadian Air Force was the first foreign customer of the F/A-18 Hornet
and has the largest fleet of Hornets after the USA. These hornets are
designated with CF/A-18 Hornet.
The Air Force of Kuwait has 40 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets.
The Air Force of Kuwait has 8 F/A-18D Hornet fighter
In the beginning, the Spanish Air Force purchased 72 F/A-18 Hornets of
which 60 A-versions and 12 B-versions. At the moment, it has 81 F/A-18A/B
Hornets and 24 F/A-18C Hornet fighter jets.
Spain has some F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets stationed on the airport (or
airbase) on the back of the civil airport of Las Palmas on the Island
Gran Canaria). The fighter jets will probably be used for surveillance
of the canarian islands.
The air force of Swiss has the ability of 26 F/A-18C and 7 F/A-18D Hornet
fighter jets since the end of the 1990s. At the moment they are operational
with the squadrons: Fliegerstaffel 11 (on Meiringen), Escadrille 17 (on
Payerne) and Escadrille 18 (on Sion).