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One Super Hornet

History of the F-18 Hornet
In 1976, McDonnell Douglas was awarded the contract to build F/A-18A Hornets for both the Marine Corps and Navy. The Marine Corps ordered the Hornet as a fighter aircraft (F) and the Navy needed it as an attack (A) aircraft, thus producing the dual designator F/A. In actuality, the Hornet can convert between fighter and attack roles very easily and has since added roles such as reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures.

The F/A-18 took to the air for the first time in November 1978 at the Naval Air Test Center. It has been in service, starting with VFA-125 since November 1980. Hornets entered active duty in January 1983. In 1986, Hornets on the USS Coral Sea flew their first combat missions. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, while performing an air-to-ground mission, Hornets destroyed two Iraqi MiG-21s in air-to-air combat.

First flight: Nov. 18, 1978
Wingspan: 37 feet 5 inches
Length: 56 feet
Height: 15 feet 3.5 inches
Takeoff weight: Fighter-36, 710 pounds; attack-49, 224 pounds
Speed: 1,360 mph plus
Ceiling: 50,000 feet
Power Plant: Two 16,000 pound thrust GE F404-GE-400 low-bypass turbofan engines
Accommodation: One Crew (F/A-18A/C); two crew (F/A-18B/D)
Armament: One 20mm M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel cannon with 570 rounds, plus up to 17,000 pounds ordnance, including bombs, rockets, missiles and drop tanks on nine external points.

Copyright 2002 text and photos Bryan Dewberry. All rights reserved.

About the Author

About Bryan Dewberry (Tin_Can)

My interest in modeling started while watching my dad work late night's on old Star Trek and WWII plane models. I modeled planes for about 3 or 4 years before joining the Navy in 1990 and then took a 12-year break from the hobby before starting back-up again last fall. Man has it changed since I'v...