“Three hundred and sixty-five days a year, 24 hours a day, there is a Super Hornet or Growler somewhere in the sky serving the Navy,” said Bob Kornegay, Boeing’s domestic capture team lead for the program.
Dan Gillian, vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18 programs, said the team is proud of the milestone and looking forward to the program’s bright future. “The F/A-18 is a combat-proven, evolutionary aircraft that has stayed ahead of the threat by regularly incorporating new capabilities into the platform,” said Gillian. “It will continue its evolution into a next generation aircraft with Block III upgrades that will let the Navy add millions of additional flight hours while serving as the backbone of the carrier fleet into the 2040s.”Today there are more than 1,200 F/A-18 and EA-18 aircraft flying in 71 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps squadrons, including the Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron. Seven international countries also operate the aircraft.
All F/A-18s can be configured quickly to perform either fighter or attack roles or both, through selected use of external equipment to accomplish specific missions. This “force multiplier” capability gives the operational commander more flexibility in employing tactical aircraft in a rapidly changing battle scenario. The fighter missions are primarily fighter escort and fleet air defense; while the attack missions are force projection, interdiction, and close and deep air support.
The F/A-18A and C are single seat aircraft. The F/A-18B and D are dual-seaters. The B model is used primarily for training, while the D model is the current U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) aircraft for attack, tactical air control, forward air control and reconnaissance squadrons. Noteworthy the F/A-18C and D models are the result of a block upgrade in 1987 incorporating provisions for employing updated missiles and jamming devices against enemy ordnance.
The newest models, the E and F were rolled out at McDonnell Douglas Sep. 17, 1995. The E (single seat) and F (two seater) models have built on the proven effectiveness of the A through D aircraft. The Super Hornet provides aircrew the capability and performance necessary to face 21st century threats.
Compared to the original F/A-18 A through D models, the Super Hornet has longer range, an aerial refueling capability, increased survivability/lethality and improved carrier suitability.
The EA-18G Growler, which is a variant of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world.
Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Ignacio D. Perez, Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrea Perez, Capt. Dana Potts and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner / U.S. Navy
Additional source: U.S. Navy
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com
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