Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets Vol. II

Built on the United States’ first strike fighter, the F/A-18 Hornet, today’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is an attack aircraft as well as a fighter through selected use of external equipment and advanced networking capabilities to accomplish specific missions.

This “force multiplier” capability gives the operational commander more flexibility in employing tactical aircraft in rapidly changing battle scenarios. In its fighter mode, it provides escort and fleet air defense. In the attack mode, it provides force projection, interdiction, and close and deep air support. Developed on cost and ahead of schedule, the Super Hornet achieved its initial operational capability in 2001. With 565 Super Hornets delivered by the end of 2015, the aircraft is expected to be in service beyond 2045. Open architecture design principles enhance future development capabilities. The Super Hornet provides aircrew the capability and performance necessary to face 21st century threats. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Inherent Resolve, it performed new combinations of varied and distinct missions - including air superiority, fighter escort, defense suppression, all-weather day/night precision strike, reconnaissance, and aerial refuelling.
In April 2005, Boeing delivered the first Block II Super Hornet, an upgraded Super Hornet with the world’s first tactical multimode active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar.
In 2008, the EA-18G Growler joined the Navy’s aircraft fleet. A Super Hornet derivative, the EA-18G provides tactical jamming and electronic protection for U.S. and allied forces, delivering full-spectrum airborne electronic attack capability along with the targeting and self-defense capabilities of the Super Hornet.

f18volII   zd1

On April 22, 2010 — Earth Day— an unmodified, Boeing-built F/A-18F Super Hornet took off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., powered by a sustainable biofuel blend of 50 percent camelina and 50 percent JP-5 aviation fuel. Boeing had worked with the Navy on laboratory testing of fuel properties and engineering evaluations of fuel system compatibility. Nicknamed Green Hornet, the F/A Super Hornet has won seven consecutive awards for environmental excellence from the U.S. Navy.
In August 2013, Boeing and Northrop Grumman began flight tests with a prototype of an Advanced Super Hornet aircraft with conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod and signature enhancements. This evolved into the Block III, in fact a new generation Super Hornet, which first flew in May 2020. Concerning the EA-18G Growler, it will receive the AN/ALQ-249 Next Generation Jammer-Mid-band (NGJ-MB), which is under develpment by Raytheon, and which will achieve early operacional capability (EOC) by late 2021, while the low-band version will follow two years later.

 

f18volII   zd2


Rhino, the second generation
The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried in up to five external fuel tanks and the aircraft can be configured as an airborne tanker by adding an external air refueling system.
Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Low-rate production began in early 1997 with full-rate production starting in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month. The Super Hornet entered service with the United States Navy in 2001, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was retired in 2006; the Super Hornet serves alongside the original Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which has operated the F/A-18A as its main fighter since 1984, ordered the F/A-18F in 2007 to replace its aging F-111C fleet. RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010. Also the Super Hornet has been ordered by Kuwait.

The Super Hornet is an evolutionary redesign of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet’s unique wing and tail configuration can be traced back to an internal Northrop project P-530; this had started as a substantial rework of the lightweight F-5E with a larger wing, twin tail fins and a distinctive leading edge root extension (LERX). Later flying as the Northrop YF-17 “Cobra”, it competed in the United States Air Force’s Lightweight Fighter (LWF) program to produce a smaller and simpler fighter to complement the larger McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle; the YF-17 lost the competition to the YF-16.