- Spanish Air Force – 85 F/A-18A+/B+ in service
- Swiss Air Force – 25 F/A-18Cs and 5 F/A-18Ds in service as of October 2017.
The Hornet first saw combat action during the 1986 United States bombing of Libya and subsequently participated in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. The F/A-18 Hornet served as the baseline for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, its larger, evolutionary redesign
Role Multirole fighter
National origin United States
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas (1974–1997)
with Northrop (1974–1994) – Boeing (1997–present)
First flight 18 November 1978; 42 years ago
Status In service
Primary users United States Navy (historical)
United States Marine Corps
Royal Australian Air Force – Spanish Air Force
Number built F/A-18A/B/C/D: 1,480
Developed from Northrop YF-17
Variants McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet
High Alpha Research Vehicle
Developed into Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Boeing X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft (hence the F/A designation). Designed by McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) and Northrop (now part of Northrop Grumman), the F/A-18 was derived from the latter’s YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations, and formerly, by the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
The F/A-18 is a twin engine, midwing, multimission tactical aircraft. It is highly maneuverable, due to its good thrust-to-weight ratio, digital fly-by-wire control system, and leading-edge extensions, which allow the Hornet to remain controllable at high angles of attack. The trapezoidal wing has a 20-degree sweepback on the leading edge and a straight trailing edge. The wing has full-span, leading-edge flaps and the trailing edge has single-slotted flaps and ailerons over the entire span.
Canted vertical stabilizers are another distinguishing design element, one among several other such elements that enable the Hornet’s excellent high angle of attack ability, including oversized horizontal stabilators, oversized trailing-edge flaps that operate as flaperons, large full-length leading-edge slats, and flight control computer programming that multiplies the movement of each control surface at low speeds and moves the vertical rudders inboard instead of simply left and right
You are definitely intrigued to discoverMcDonnell/Douglas F-18C Hornet (1978)
McDonnell Douglas rolled out the first F/A-18A on 13 September 1978, in blue-on-white colors marked with “Navy” on the left and “Marines” on the right. Its first flight was on 18 November. In a break with tradition, the Navy pioneered the “principal site concept” with the F/A-18, where almost all testing was done at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, instead of near the site of manufacture, and using Navy and Marine Corps test pilots instead of civilians early in development. In March 1979, Lt. Cdr. John Padgett became the first Navy pilot to fly the F/A-18
Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61A1 Vulcan nose mounted 6-barrel rotary cannon, 578 rounds
Hardpoints: 9 total: 2× wingtips missile launch rail, 4× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 13,700 lb (6,200 kg) external fuel and ordnance,with provisions to carry combinations of:
Missiles: Air-to-air missiles:
2× AIM-9 Sidewinder on wingtips and
8× AIM-9 Sidewinder (with double-racks) or 4× AIM-132 ASRAAM
In the 1990s, the U.S. Navy faced the need to replace its aging A-6 Intruders and A-7 Corsair IIs with no replacement in development. To answer this deficiency, the Navy commissioned development of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Despite its designation, it is not just an upgrade of the F/A-18 Hornet, but rather, a new, larger airframe using the design concepts of the Hornet. Hornets and Super Hornets will serve complementary roles in the U.S. Navy carrier fleet until the Hornet A-D models are completely replaced by the F-35C Lightning II. The Marines have chosen to extend the use of certain F/A-18s up to 10,000 flight hours, due to delays in the F-35B variant.
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