Military Aviation

Glorious photo shows U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet under a breathtaking starry sky

F/A-18 Super Hornet belonging to VFA 102 under a breathtaking starry sky

Taken on Sep. 7, 2016 the cool photo in this post shows an F/A-18F Super Hornet belonging to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 “Diamondbacks” receiving a fresh water wash-down under a breathtaking starry sky on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) from the sailors assigned to the squadron.

To make this image even more spectacular is the streak of light across the photo left by a sailor with a personal flashlight as the camera shutter remained open in low light.

Noteworthy the Diamondbacks of VFA-102 are the Navy’s only forward-deployed F/A-18F Super Hornet squadron. The squadron is attached to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, based out of Naval Air Facility Atsugi (NAFA), Japan.

The unit regularly embarks aboard Ronald Reagan, the Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) flagship, in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.


Established in 1955 as VF-102 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida, the DIAMONDBACKS began initial training in gunnery, bombing, nuclear weapons delivery and high altitude intercepts in the F2H-4 Banshee.

The DIAMONDBACKS began the transition to their current platform, the F/A-18F Super Hornet, following a 2001 deployment. Over the next two years, the DIAMONDBACKS, newly re-designated as VFA-102, moved from NAS Oceana to NAS Lemoore, participated in work-ups at NAF Key West and NAS Fallon and successfully trained twenty-two nugget aircrew in the latest strike fighter tactics.

The F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft we fly is the world’s most advanced strike fighter. Designed to operate from a carrier, the Super Hornet is fully capable in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

The Super Hornet is the second major model upgrade since the inception of the F/A-18 aircraft program highly capable across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refueling, close air support, air defense suppression and day/night precision strike.

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jamaal Liddell / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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