McDonnel Douglas F-18 Hornet Airplane Videos and Airplane Pictures

McDonnel Douglas F-18 Hornet Video - F-18 goes supersonic

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McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

Airplane Pictures - Living Warbirds: McDonnel Douglas F/A-18 Hornet Crew: F/A-18C: 1, F/A-18D: 2
Length: 56 ft (17.1 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft (12.3 m)
Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.7 m)
Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h)
Combat radius: 330 mi (290 NM, 537 km)
Ferry range: 2,070 mi (1,800 NM, 3,330 km)
Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)

McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet Aircraft Information

Airplane Pictures - A USMC FA-18 in flightRole: Multirole fighter
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas / Boeing, Northrop
First flight: 18 November 1978
Introduction: 7 January 1983
Primary users: United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, Royal Australian Air Force, Spanish Air Force
Number built: ;1,458
Unit cost: US $29-57 million (2006)
Developed from: Northrop YF-17
Variants: CF-18 Hornet, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, High Alpha Research Vehicle

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather carrier-capable multi-role fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Designed in the 1970s for service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, the Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations. It has been the aerial demonstration aircraft for the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels since 1986. Its primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), interdiction, close air support and reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its contemporaries.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a distinct, evolutionary upgrade to the F/A-18 designed to serve a complementary role with Hornets in the U.S. Navy.



Airplane Pictures - The YF-17 Cobra was navalized and developed into the F/A-18(Image: The YF-17 Cobra was navalized and developed into the F/A-18)

Development of the F/A-18 came as a result of the U.S. Navy's Naval Fighter-Attack, Experimental (VFAX) program to procure a multirole aircraft to replace the A-4 Skyhawk, the A-7 Corsair II, remaining F-4 Phantom IIs and to complement the F-14 Tomcat. Vice Admiral Kent Lee, then head of Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), was the lead advocate for the VFAX against strong opposition from many Navy officers, including Vice Admiral William D. Houser, deputy chief of naval operations for air warfare - the highest ranking naval aviator.

In August 1973, Congress mandated that the Navy pursue a lower-cost alternative to the F-14. Grumman proposed a stripped F-14 designated the F-14X, while McDonnell Douglas proposed a navalized F-15, but both were nearly as expensive as the F-14. That summer, Secretary of Defense Schlesinger ordered the Navy to evaluate the competitors in the Air Force's Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program, the General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17. The Air Force competition specified a day fighter with no strike capability. In May 1974, the House Armed Services Committee redirected $34 million from the VFAX to a new program, the Navy Air Combat Fighter (NACF), intended to make maximum use of the technology developed for the LWF program.

Redesigning the YF-17

Though the YF-16 won the LWF competition, the Navy was skeptical that an aircraft with one engine and narrow landing gear could be easily or economically adapted to carrier service, and refused to adopt an F-16 derivative. The Navy fought for and won permission to develop an aircraft based on the YF-17. Since the LWF did not share the design requirements of the VFAX, the Navy asked McDonnell Douglas and Northrop to design a new aircraft around the configuration and design principles of the YF-17. The new aircraft, designated the F-18, shared not a single essential dimension or primary structure with the YF-17. Secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor announced on 1 March 1977 that the name of the aircraft would be "Hornet".

Airplane Pictures - FA-18 attached to catapult on the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln(Image: F/A-18 attached to catapult on the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln)

Northrop had enlisted the aid of McDonnell Douglas as a secondary contractor on the NACF proposal to capitalize on the latter's extensive experience in building carrier aircraft, including the highly successful F-4 Phantom II. On the F-18, the two companies agreed to split the parts manufacture evenly, with McDonnell Douglas completing the final assembly, representing ~20% of the work. McDonnell Douglas built the wings, stabilators, and forward fuselage; Northrop built the center and aft fuselage and vertical stabilizers. McDonnell Douglas was the prime contractor for the naval versions. Northrop would become the prime contractor and take over final assembly for the F-18L land-based version which Northrop hoped to sell on the export market.

The F-18, initially known as McDonnell Douglas Model 267, was drastically modified from the YF-17 while retaining the same basic configuration. For carrier operations, the airframe, undercarriage, and arrestor hook were strengthened, folding wings and catapult attachments were added, and the landing gear widened. To meet Navy range and reserves requirements, McDonnell increased fuel capacity by 4,460 pounds (2,020 kg), with the enlargement of the dorsal spine and the addition of a 96 gallon fuel cell to each wing (the YF-17 had dry wings). Most visibly, a "snag" was added to the leading edge of the wings and stabilators to prevent a flutter discovered in the F-15 stabilator. The wings and stabilators were enlarged, the aft fuselage widened by 4 inches (102 mm), and the engines canted outward at the front. These changes added 10,000 lb (4,540 kg) to the gross weight, bringing it to 37,000 lb (16,800 kg). The computer-assisted control system of the YF-17 was replaced with a wholly digital fly-by-wire system with quadruple-redundancy, the first to be installed in a production fighter.

Airplane Pictures - Heads up display (HUD) in an FA-18 Hornet(Image: Heads up display (HUD) in an F/A-18 Hornet)

The original plan specified acquiring 780 total of three closely related models: the single seat F-18A fighter and A-18A attack aircraft, differing only in avionics, and the dual-seat TF-18A, which retained full mission capability of the F-18, except with a reduced fuel load. With redesign of the stores stations and improvements in avionics and multifunction displays, it became possible to combine the A-18A and F-18A into one aircraft. Starting in 1980, the aircraft began being referred to as the F/A-18A, and the designation was officially announced on 1 April 1984. The TF-18A was redesignated F/A-18B.

Northrop's F-18L

Northrop developed the F-18L as a potential export aircraft. Since it did not have to be strengthened for carrier service, it was expected to be lighter and better performing, and a strong competitor to the F-16 Fighting Falcon then being offered to American allies. The F-18L was 7,700 pounds (3,493 kg) (approximately 30%) lighter than the F/A-18A, due to a lighter landing gear, removal of the wing folding mechanism, and reduced part thickness in areas. Though the aircraft retained a lightened arresting hook, the most obvious external difference was the removal of the "snags" on the leading edge of the wings and stabilators. It still retained 71% commonality with the F/A-18 by parts weight, and 90% of the high-value systems, including the avionics, radar, and ECM suite, though alternatives were offered. Unlike the F/A-18, the F-18L carried no fuel in its wings and lacked weapons stations on the intakes. It had three underwing pylons on each side instead.

The partnership between the McDonnell Douglas and Northrop soured over competition for foreign sales for the two models. Northrop felt that McDonnell Douglas would put the F/A-18 in direct competition with the F-18L. In October 1979, Northrop filed a series of lawsuits charging that McDonnell was using Northrop technology developed for the F-18L for foreign sales in violation of their agreement, and asked for a moratorium on foreign sales of the Hornet via McDonnell Douglas. The case was resolved in 1985 when McDonnell agreed to pay Northrop $50 million for complete rights to the design, without any admission of wrongdoing. By then Northrop had ceased work on the F-18L, and most export orders were captured by the F-16 or the F/A-18.

Into production

Airplane Pictures - A US Navy FA-18 in flight(Image: A US Navy F/A-18 in flight)

During flight testing, the snag on the leading edge of the stabilators was filled in, and the gap between the Leading edge extensions (LEX) and the fuselage mostly filled in. The gap, called the boundary layer air discharge (BLAD) slots, controlled the vortices generated by the LEX and presented clean air to the vertical stabilizers at high angles of attack. However, they also generated a great deal of parasitic drag, worsening the problem of the F/A-18's inadequate range. McDonnell filled in 80% of the gap, leaving a small slot to bleed air from the engine intake. This may have contributed to early problems with fatigue cracks appearing on the vertical stabilizers due to extreme aerodynamic loads, resulting in a momentary grounding in 1984 until the stabilizers were strengthened. Starting in May 1988, a small vertical fence was added to the top of each LEX to broaden the vortices and direct them away from the vertical stabilizers. This also provided a minor increase in controllability as a side effect.

The first production F/A-18A flew on 12 April 1980. After a production run of 380 F/A-18As (including the nine assigned to flight systems development), manufacture shifted to the F/A-18C in September 1987.


Airplane Pictures - A Hornet performing a high-g pull-up during an air show. The high angle of attack causes powerful vortices to form at the leading edge extensions(Image: A Hornet performing a high-g pull-up during an air show. The high angle of attack causes powerful vortices to form at the leading edge extensions)

The F/A-18 is a twin engine, mid-wing, multi-mission tactical aircraft. It is superbly maneuverable, owing to its good thrust to weight ratio, digital fly-by-wire control system, and leading edge extensions (LEX). The LEX allow the Hornet to remain controllable at high angles of attack. This is because the LEX produce powerful vortices over the wings, creating turbulent airflow over the wings and thus delaying or eliminating the aerodynamic separation responsible for stall, allowing the Hornet's wings to generate lift several times the aircraft's weight, despite high angles of attack. The Hornet is therefore capable of extremely tight turns over a large range of speeds.

Canted vertical stabilizers are another distinguishing design element, and among the other design characteristics that enable the Hornet's excellent high angle-of-attack capability include oversized horizontal stabilators, oversized trailing edge flaps that operate as flaperons, large full-length leading-edge flaps, 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. The Hornet's normally high angle-of-attack performance envelope was put to rigorous testing and enhanced in the NASA F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV). NASA used the F-18 HARV to demonstrate flight handling characteristics at high angle-of-attack (alpha) of 65-70 degrees using thrust vectoring vanes. F/A-18 stabilators were also used as canards on NASA's F-15S/MTD.

The Hornet was among the first aircraft to heavily utilize multi-function displays, which at the switch of a button allow the pilot to perform either fighter or attack roles or both. This "force multiplier" capability gives the operational commander more flexibility in employing tactical aircraft in a rapidly changing battle scenario. It was the first Navy aircraft to incorporate a digital multiplex avionics bus, enabling easy upgrades.

The Hornet is also notable for having been designed with maintenance in mind, and as a result has required far less downtime than its heavier counterparts, the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder. Its mean time between failure is three times greater than any other Navy strike aircraft, and requires half the maintenance time. For example, whereas replacing the engine on the A-4 Skyhawk required removing the aircraft's tail, the engine on the Hornet is attached at only three points and can be directly removed without excessive disassembly. An experienced maintenance crew can remove and replace an F/A-18 engine in only a couple of hours.

Airplane Pictures - F/A-18 Hornet in transonic flight Note Prandtl-Glauert condensation(Image: F/A-18 Hornet in transonic flight (Note Prandtl-Glauert condensation))

The General Electric F404-GE-400 or F404-GE-402 engines powering the Hornet were also innovative in that they were designed with operability, reliability, and maintainability first. The result is an engine that, while unexceptional on paper in terms of rated performance, demonstrates exceptional robustness under a variety of conditions and is resistant to stall and flameout. By contrast, the Pratt & Whitney TF30 engines that originally powered the F-14A were notoriously prone to compressor stall and flameout under certain flight conditions.

The engine air inlets of the Hornet, like that of the F-16, are "fixed", while those of the F-4, F-14, and F-15 have variable geometry or variable ramp engine air inlets. The variable geometry enables high-speed aircraft to keep the velocity of the air reaching the engine below supersonic. This is one speed limiting factor in the Hornet design. Instead, the Hornet uses bleed air vents on the inboard surface of the engine air intake ducts to slow and reduce the amount of air reaching the engine. While not as effective as variable geometry, the bleed air technique functions well enough to achieve near Mach 2 speeds, which is within the designed mission requirements. The less sophisticated design is also more robust.

Because it was designed as a light multirole aircraft to complement the specialized F-14 and A-6 airframes, it had a relatively low internal fuel fraction. That is, its internal fuel capacity is small relative to its take-off weight, at around 23%, a fuel fraction of .23. Most aircraft of its class have a fuel fraction between .30 to .35. This situation was exacerbated by the addition of new avionics over its lifespan, further reducing the fuel fraction. This led to 330-gallon external tanks being a common sight on F/A-18s, with the centerline and inner wings stations (numbered 3, 5 and 7) being plumbed to transfer fuel.

Design evolution

Airplane Pictures - U.S. Navy F/A-18C from VFA-131 launches from French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off the Virginia Capes(Image: U.S. Navy F/A-18C from VFA-131 launches from French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off the Virginia Capes)

In the 1990s, the US Navy faced the need to replace its aging A-6 Intruders, EA-6 Prowlers, A-7 Corsair IIs and F-14 Tomcats without proper replacements in development. To answer this deficiency, the Navy had the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet developed. Despite its designation, it is not an upgrade of the F/A-18 Hornet, but rather, a new, larger airframe utilizing the design concepts of the Hornet. Hornets and Super Hornets will serve complementary roles in the US Navy carrier arsenal, until the deployment of the F-35C Lightning II, which will primarily replace F/A-18A-D Hornets.

Operational history

Operational history

United States

Entry into service

Airplane Pictures - F/A 18 Hornets on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class supercarrier Harry S. Truman(Image: F/A 18 Hornets on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class supercarrier Harry S. Truman)

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 NAS Pax River, instead of near the site of manufacture, and involving Navy test pilots instead of contractor pilots much earlier in the process.

In March 1979, Lt Cdr John Padgett became the first Navy pilot to fly the F/A-18. In all, nine F/A-18As and two F/A-18Bs were assigned to flight systems development.

Airplane Pictures - An FA-18 taking off from USS Kitty Hawk.(Image: An F/A-18 taking off from USS Kitty Hawk.)

Following trials and operational testing by VX-4 and VX-5, Hornets began to fill the Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS) VFA-125, VFA-106, and VMFAT-101, where pilots are introduced to the F/A-18. The Hornet entered operational service with Marine Corps squadron VMFA-314 at MCAS El Toro on 7 January 1983, and with Navy squadron VFA-113 in March 1983, replacing F-4s and A-7Es, respectively.

The initial fleet reports were complimentary, indicating that the Hornet was extraordinarily reliable, a major change from its predecessor, the F-4J. Other squadrons that switched to F/A-18 are VFA-146 "Blue diamonds", and VFA-147 "Argonauts". In January 1985, the VFA-131 Wildcats moved from Naval Air Station Lemoore to Naval Air Station Cecil Field, Florida, and became the Atlantic Fleet’s first F/A-18 squadron.
The Blue Angels' #6 F/A-18A.

Airplane Pictures - The Blue Angels no 6 FA-18A(Image: The Blue Angels' #6 F/A-18A)

The US Navy's Blue Angels aerobatic team switched to the F/A-18 Hornet in 1986, when it replaced the A-4 Skyhawk. The Blue Angels perform in F/A-18A and B models at air shows and other special events across the US and worldwide. Blue Angels pilots must have 1,350 hours and an aircraft carrier certification. The two-seat B model is typically used to give rides to VIPs, but can also fill in for other aircraft in the squadron in a normal show if the need arises.

Into combat

The F/A-18 first saw combat action in April 1986, when VFA-131 Hornets from USS Coral Sea flew SEAD missions against Libyan air defenses during Operation Prairie Fire and an attack on Benghazi as part of Operation El Dorado Canyon.

Airplane Pictures - Canadian CF-18A Hornet off the coast of Hawaii. Note the false cockpit painted on the underside of the aircraft, intended to confuse enemy pilots during dogfights(Image: Canadian CF-18A Hornet off the coast of Hawaii. Note the 'false cockpit' painted on the underside of the aircraft, intended to confuse enemy pilots during dogfights)

During the first Gulf War, two U.S. Navy F/A-18s were destroyed with the loss of their pilots. On 17 January 1991, the first day of the war, Lieutenant Commander Scott Speicher of VFA-81 was shot down and remains listed as missing in action. The other F/A-18, piloted by Lieutenant Robert Dwyer (who was officially listed as killed in action), was lost over the North Persian Gulf after a successful mission to Iraq.

F/A-18 pilots were credited with two kills during the Gulf War, both MiG-21s. On the first day of the war, U.S. Navy pilots Lieutenant Nick Mongilio and Lieutenant Commander (now Rear Admiral) Mark Fox were sent from the USS Saratoga in the Red Sea to bomb an airfield in southwestern Iraq. While enroute, they were warned by an E-2C of approaching MiG-21 aircraft. The Hornets shot down two MiGs and resumed their bombing run, each carrying four 2,000 lb bombs, before returning to Saratoga. Mongilio and Fox become the first pilots to register air-to-air kills while still completing their original air-to-ground mission. The Hornet's survivability was demonstrated when a Hornet took hits in both engines and flew 125 mi (201 km) back to base. It was repaired and flying within a few days. Overall during the Gulf War, F/A-18s flew 4,551 sorties with ten Hornets damaged including the two losses previously mentioned.

Airplane Pictures - A Finnish Air Force F-18C at RIAT 2005(Image: A Finnish Air Force F-18C at RIAT 2005)

As the A-6 Intruder was retired in the 1990s, its role was filled by the F/A-18. The F/A-18 demonstrated its versatility and reliability during Operation Desert Storm, shooting down enemy fighters and subsequently bombing enemy targets with the same aircraft on the same mission. It broke records for tactical aircraft in availability, reliability, and maintainability.

Airplane Pictures - Spanish EF-18(Image: Spanish EF-18)

Both U.S. Navy F/A-18A/C models and Marine F/A-18A/C/D models were used continuously in Operation Southern Watch and over Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s. U.S. Navy Hornets flew in Operation Enduring Freedom from carriers operating in the North Arabian Sea. Both the F/A-18A/C and newer F/A-18E/F variants were used in Operation Iraqi Freedom, operating from aircraft carriers. Later in the conflict USMC A+, C, and primarily D models operated from bases within Iraq. An F/A-18C was accidentally downed in a Friendly Fire incident by a Patriot missile early in the conflict, and two others collided over Iraq in May 2005. In January 2007, two Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornets collided in mid-air and crashed in the Persian Gulf. On 13 June 2008, an F/A-18C Hornet collided with an F-5 Tiger over northern Nevada's high desert, killing its pilot. Both pilots of the F-5 were injured, but managed to parachute to safety.



Airplane Pictures - An F/A-18B Hornet assigned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School(Image: An F/A-18B Hornet assigned to the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School)

The F/A-18A is the single-seat variant and the F/A-18B is the two seat variant. The space for the two seat cockpit is provided by a relocation of avionic equipment and a 6% reduction in internal fuel; two-seat Hornets are otherwise fully combat-capable. The B model is used primarily for training.

In 1992, the original Hughes AN/APG-65 radar was replaced with the Hughes (now Raytheon) AN/APG-73, a faster and more capable radar. A model Hornets that have been upgraded to the AN/APG-73 are designated F/A-18A+.


Airplane Pictures - A Marine F/A-18D of VMFAT-101 prepares for takeoff(Image: A Marine F/A-18D of VMFAT-101 prepares for takeoff)

The F/A-18C is the single-seat variant and the F/A-18D is the two seat variant. The D model can be configured for training or as an all-weather strike craft. The "missionized" D's rear seat is configured for a Weapons and Sensors Officer to assist in operating the weapons systems. The D model is primarily operated by the U.S. Marine Corps in the night attack and FAC(A) (Forward Air Controller (Airborne)) roles.

The F/A-18C and D models are the result of a block upgrade in 1987 incorporating upgraded radar, avionics, and the capacity to carry new missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile and AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84 Harpoon air-to-surface missiles. Other upgrades include the Martin-Baker NACES (Navy Aircrew Common Ejection Seat), and a self-protection jammer. A synthetic aperture ground mapping radar enables the pilot to locate targets in poor visibility conditions. C and D models delivered since 1989 also include an improved night attack capability, consisting of the Hughes AN/AAR-50 thermal navigation pod, the Loral AN/AAS-38 NITE Hawk FLIR (forward looking infrared array) targeting pod, night vision goggles, and two full-color (previously monochrome) MFDs and a color moving map.

In addition, 60 D model Hornets are configured as the night attack F/A-18D (RC) with ability for reconnaissance. These could be outfitted with the ATARS electro-optical sensor package that includes a sensor pod and equipment mounted in the place of the M61 cannon.

Beginning in 1992, the F404-GE-402 enhanced performance engine, providing approximately 10% more maximum static thrust became the standard Hornet engine. Since 1993, the AAS-38A NITE Hawk added a designator/ranger laser, allowing it to self-mark targets. The later AAS-38B added the ability to strike targets designated by lasers from other aircraft.

Production of the F/A-18C ended in 1999. In 2000, the last F/A-18D was delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps.

E/F Super Hornet

Airplane Pictures - A VFA-11 F/A-18F Super Hornet performing evasive maneuvers during an air power demonstration above USS Harry S. Truman(Image: A VFA-11 F/A-18F Super Hornet performing evasive maneuvers during an air power demonstration above USS Harry S. Truman)

The single seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets carry over the name and design concept of the original F/A-18, but have been extensively redesigned. The Super Hornet has a new, 25% larger airframe, larger rectangular air intakes, more powerful GE F414 engines based on F/A-18's F404, and upgraded avionics suite. The aircraft is currently in production and will eventually equip 22 squadrons. The EA-18G Growler is an electronic warfare version of the two-seat F/A-18F, which entered production in 2007. The Growler will replace the Navy's EA-6B Prowler.

Other US variants

This was a proposed reconnaissance version of the F/A-18A. It included a sensor package that replaced the 20 mm cannon. The first of two prototypes flew in August 1984, however the variant was not produced.

Proposed two-seat reconnaissance version for the US Marine Corps in the mid-1980s. It was to carry a radar reconnaissance pod. The system was canceled after it was unfunded in 1988. This capability was later realized on the F/A-18D(RC).

Airplane Pictures - X-53, NASAs modified F/A-18(Image: X-53, NASA's modified F/A-18)

Two-seat training version of the F/A-18A fighter, later redesignated F/A-18B.

Single-seat High Alpha Research Vehicle for NASA.

X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing
A NASA F/A-18 has been modified to demonstrate the Active Aeroelastic Wing technology, and was designated X-53 in December 2006.

Export variants

This was a lighter land-based version of the F/A-18 Hornet. It was designed to be a single-seat air-superiority fighter and ground-attack aircraft. It was originally intended to be assembled by Northrop as the export version of the F/A-18 Hornet. The F-18L was lighter due to the removal of carrier landing capability. Despite the advantages, customers preferred the "ordinary" Hornet, and the F-18L never went into production.

(A)F/A-18A: Single-seat fighter/attack version for the Royal Australian Air Force.
(A)F/A-18B: Two-seat training version for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Airplane Pictures - F/A-18C of the Swiss Air Force taxis for takeoff(Image: F/A-18C of the Swiss Air Force taxis for takeoff)

"F/A-18A" was the original company designation, designations of "AF-18A" & "ATF-18A" have also been applied. Assembled in Australia (excluding the first two (A)F/A-18Bs) by Aero-Space Technologies of Australia (ASTA) from 1985 through to 1990, from kits produced by McDonnell Douglas with increasing local content in the later aircraft. Originally the most notable differences between an Australian (A)F/A-18A/B and a US F/A-18A/B were the lack of a catapult attachment, replacement of the carrier tailhook for a lighter "land" arresting hook, and the replacement of the automatic carrier landing system with an Instrument Landing System. Australian Hornets have been involved in a number of major upgrade programs. This program called HUG (Hornet Upgrade) has had a few evolutions over the years. The first was to give Australian Hornets F/A-18C model avionics. The second and current upgrade program (HUG 2.2) updates the fleet's avionics even further.

CF-18 Hornet
CF-18A : Single-seat fighter/attack version for the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces' official designation is CF-188A Hornet.
CF-18B : Two-seat training and combat version for the Canadian Forces. The Canadian Forces' official designation is CF-188B Hornet.

EF-18 Hornet
EF-18A: Single-seat fighter/attack version for the Spanish Air Force. The Spanish Air Force designation is C.15.
EF-18B: Two-seat training version for the Spanish Air Force. The Spanish Air Force designation is CE.15.

KAF-18 Hornet
KAF-18C: Single-seat fighter/attack version for the Kuwait Air Force.
KAF-18D: Two-seat training version for the Kuwait Air Force.

F-18C/D Hornet
The Finnish Air Force uses F/A-18C/D Hornets, with a Finland-specific mid-life update. The first 7 Hornets (D-models) were produced by McDonnell Douglas. The 57 single-seat F-18C model units were assembled by Patria in Finland.

F-18C/D Hornet
Switzerland uses F-18C/D, later Swiss specific mid-life update. The Swiss F-18s were originally without ground attack capability until hardware was retrofitted.

Specifications (F/A-18C/D)

Airplane Pictures - diagram of the F/A-18 HornetGeneral characteristics

Crew: F/A-18C: 1, F/A-18D: 2 (pilot and weapons system officer)
Length: 56 ft (17.1 m)
Wingspan: 40 ft (12.3 m)
Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.7 m)
Wing area: 400 ft² (38 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 65A005 mod root, 65A003.5 mod tip
Empty weight: 24,700 lb (11,200 kg)
Loaded weight: 37,150 lb (16,850 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 51,550 lb (23,400 kg)
Powerplant: 2× General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
Dry thrust: 11,000 lbf (48.9 kN) each
Thrust with afterburner: 17,750 lbf (79.2 kN) each


Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
Combat radius: 330 mi (290 NM, 537 km) on hi-lo-lo-hi mission
Ferry range: 2,070 mi (1,800 NM, 3,330 km)
Service ceiling 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
Wing loading: 93 lb/ft² (450 kg/m²)
Thrust/weight: ;0.95


Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan nose mounted gatling gun, 578 rounds
Hardpoints: 9 total: 2× wingtips missile launch rail, 4× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 13,700 lb (6,215 kg) external fuel and ordnance,

Air-to-air missiles:
4× AIM-9 Sidewinder or 4× AIM-132 ASRAAM or 4× IRIS-T or 4× AIM-120 AMRAAM, and
2× AIM-7 Sparrow or additional 2× AIM-120 AMRAAM

Air-to-surface missiles:
AGM-65 Maverick
Standoff Land Attack Missile (SLAM-ER)
AGM-88 HARM Anti-radiation missile (ARM)
AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)
Taurus missile (Cruise missile)

Anti-ship missile:
AGM-84 Harpoon

JDAM Precision-guided munition (PGMs)
Paveway series of Laser guided bombs
Mk 80 series of unguided iron bombs
CBU-87 cluster
CBU-89 gator mine
Mk 20 Rockeye II
B61/Mk57 nuclear bombs,

SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod or
AN/AAS-38 Nite Hawk Targeting pods (US Navy only), to be replace by AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR or
LITENING targeting pod (USMC and Finland only) or
up to 3× 330 US gallon Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time.

APG-73 radar

The F/A-18 SuperHornet is also sometimes referred to as: hornet f/a 18, fa-18 super, super hornet f18, fa18 super hornet,

Source: WikiPedia

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