The F/A-18 Hornet is a truly unique, effective and powerful aircraft. The F-18 was entered into the lightweight fighter competition, then called the F-17, in the late 70's along with the F-16. The Navy, liking the idea of two engines better that the one in the F-16, liked the F-17, but wanted several things changed. Those changes created the F/A-18. Today it is even flown by the Blue Angels.
This multi-role aircraft has been continually updated since its creation. First with the A & B models in 1983, then in 1987 the C & D models were introduce with better missiles systems. Then in 1995 a major improvement was made to create the E & F models. Below there will be a section for the C & D models and the E & F models, since the two are significantly different.
The C & D Models
The C & D models are essentially the same as the A & B models with systems upgrades. The Hornet is a powerful and lightweight aircraft that can switch between a fighter and attack modes. This mean that it can fly out to the mission area defend itself, bomb some targets, and fly home safely with out a fighter escort. It has the ability to carry such weapons as the M61 A1 Vulcan 20 mm cannon along with the sidewinder, Sparrow, AMRAAM, Harpoon, Harm, Shrike, SLAM, SLAM-ER, Walleye, and Maverick missiles. It can also carry bombs, mines and rockets. This variety gives the F/A-18 a flexibility that is unbeatable by current military aircraft.
The E & F Models
This major upgrade include more powerful engines, more wing surface area, more hard points, more pay load capacity, and even includes some limited stealth features. This model will co-exist with the F-35 for many years to come. It carries basically the same weapons as the older models, yet it can carry about 4,300 lbs of them. It also boast updated systems, night fighting capabilities, and better battle Survivability. This is why the E & F models have earned the "Super Hornet" as their name.
|Function:||Fighter and attack|
|Power Plant:||2 F404-GE-402 w/ 17,700 static lbs each (in C & D models) or 2 F414-GE-400 w/ 22,000 static lbs each (in E & F models)|
|Length:||56 ft (C & D) or 60.3 ft (E & F)|
|Max Weight:||51,900 lbs (C & D) or 66,000 lbs (E & F)|
|Wingspan:||40 ft 5 in (C & D) or 44.9 ft (E & F)|
|Speed:||mach 1.7 +|
|Armament:||1 20 mm. M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel and various disposable weapons|
|Crew:||1 in A, C & E models, 2 in B, D & F models|
|Deployment Date:||1983 (A & B), 1987 (C & D), 1995 (E & F)|