The Super Hornet is an evolutionary redesign of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet’s unique wing and tail configuration can be traced back to an internal Northrop project P-530, c. 1965; this had started as a substantial rework of the lightweight F-5E with a larger wing, twin tail fins and a distinctive leading edge root extension (LERX). Later flying as the Northrop YF-17 “Cobra”, it competed in the United States Air Force‘s Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program to produce a smaller and simpler fighter to complement the larger McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle; the YF-17 lost the competition to the YF-16.
The F-15 has an all-metal semi-monocoque fuselage with a large-cantilever, shoulder-mounted wing. The wing planform of the F-15 suggests a modified cropped delta shape with a leading-edge sweepback angle of 45°. Ailerons and a simple high-lift flap are located on the trailing edge. No leading-edge maneuvering flaps are used. This complication was avoided by the combination of low wing loading and fixed leading-edge camber that varies with spanwise position along the wing. Airfoil thickness ratios vary from 6% at the root to 3% at the tip
|Role||Carrier-based multirole fighter|
|National origin||United States|
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
|First flight||29 November 1995|
|Primary users||United States Navy|
Royal Australian Air Force
|Number built||608+ as of April 2020|
|Developed from||McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet|
|Variants||Boeing EA-18G Growler|
The Navy directed that the YF-17 be redesigned into the larger F/A-18 Hornet to meet a requirement for a multi-role fighter to complement the larger and more expensive Grumman F-14 Tomcat serving in fleet defense interceptor and air superiority roles. The Hornet proved to be effective but limited in combat radius. The concept of an enlarged Hornet was first proposed in the 1980s, which was marketed by McDonnell Douglas as Hornet 2000. The Hornet 2000 concept was an advanced F/A-18 with a larger wing and a longer fuselage to carry more fuel and more powerful engines.