NAS Oceana Phases out remaining F/A-18cs


By Dario Leone
Aug 18 2017
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Most of the units stationed at NAS Oceana transitioned from the F-14 Tomcat to the F/A-18 Super Hornet a decade ago

The U.S. Navy is preparing to transition all remaining F/A-18C Legacy Hornets stationed at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

According to, members of the public are invited to two meetings at the end of this month to discuss and make comments on a draft environmental assessment of the swap.

The meetings are scheduled for the following dates (both are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.):
Aug. 29 at the Columbian Club in Virginia Beach
Aug. 30 at the Hickory Ruritan Club in Chesapeake

Noteworthy most of the squadrons stationed at NAS Oceana transitioned to the Super Hornet a decade ago.

As we have already explained the Super Hornet, which first flew in 1995, is a twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft based on the (then) McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F twin-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18C Hornet VFA-34 Blue Blasters, NE401 / 165405 / 2006

The Hornet and Super Hornet share many characteristics, including avionics, ejection seats, radar, armament, mission computer software, and maintenance/operating procedures. The Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft at about 20% larger, 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) heavier empty weight, and 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) heavier maximum weight than the Legacy Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33% more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 41% and endurance by 50% over the Legacy Hornet.

As the Super Hornet is significantly heavier than the Legacy Hornet, the catapult and arresting systems must be set differently. To aid safe flight operations and prevent confusion in radio calls, the Super Hornet is informally referred to as the “Rhino” to distinguish it from earlier Hornets. (The “Rhino” nickname was previously applied to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which was retired from the fleet in 1987).

Legacy Hornet and Super Hornet

Furthermore the Super Hornet, unlike the Legacy Hornet, is designed to be equipped with an aerial refueling system (ARS) or “buddy store” for the refueling of other aircraft, filling the tactical airborne tanker role the U.S. Navy had lost with the retirement of the KA-6D Intruder and Lockheed S-3B Viking tankers.

Photo credit: Capt. Dana Potts and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chase Hawley/Released) / U.S. Navy

Artwork courtesy of

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Dario Leone

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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