Production still on going.
"First flight of F/A-18A/B, November 18, 1978"
"First flight of F/A-18E/F, November 29, 1995"
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 is a multirole fighter designed for aircraft carrier duty.
The U.S. Marines ordered it as an F-18 fighter and the Navy as an A-18 attack aircraft. It can switch roles easily and can
also be adapted for photoreconnaissance and electronic countermeasure missions.
The resilient F/A-18 Hornet was the first aircraft to have carbon fiber wings and the
first tactical jet fighter to use digital fly-by-wire flight controls. Variants included a two-seater, an improved fighter,
a reconnaissance aircraft and a night-attack fighter.
Since the first Hornet entered service in 1980, McDonnell Douglas built over 1,200.
Overseas, Hornets served with the Australian, Canadian, Spanish, Kuwaiti, Swiss, Finnish and Malaysian air forces. In November
1986, the 40th anniversary of the Navy's Blue Angels, the demonstration squadron replaced its A-4 Skyhawks with F/A-18 Hornets.
They saw use as a show aircraft the following season.
Hornets entered active duty in January 1983. In 1986, Hornets on the USS Coral Sea flew
their first combat missions. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, while performing an air-to-ground mission, Hornets destroyed
two Iraqi MiG-21s in air-to-air combat.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet made its first flight in November 1995. This advanced version
offered greater range and payload-carrying ability, more powerful engines, an improved cockpit, and increased mission radius,
endurance and survivability.
||Nov. 18, 1978|
||37 feet 5 inches|
||15 feet 3.5 inches|
||Fighter, 36,710 pounds; attack, 49,224 pounds|
||1,360 mph plus|
||Two 16,000-pound-thrust GE F404-GE-400 low-bypass turbofan engines|
||One crew (F/A-18A/C); two crew (F/A-18B/D) |
||One 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel cannon with 570 rounds, plus
up to 17,000 pounds ordnance, including bombs, rockets, missiles and drop tanks on nine external points|