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F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

Overview

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine
Twinjet
A twinjet or twin jet is a jet aircraft powered by two engines. Such configuration of an aircraft is the most popular today for commercial airliners, for fighters, and many other kinds, because while offering safety from a single engine failure, it is also acceptably fuel-efficient.-Aircraft...

 carrier-based
Carrier-based aircraft
Carrier-based aircraft are military aircraft designed specifically for operations from aircraft carriers. The term is generally applied only to fixed-wing aircraft, as naval helicopters are able to operate from a wider variety of aviation-capable ships. Carrier-based aircraft must be relatively...

 multirole fighter
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

 aircraft. The F/A-18E single-seat variant and F/A-18F tandem-seat variant are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried with 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
McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995.
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The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine
Twinjet
A twinjet or twin jet is a jet aircraft powered by two engines. Such configuration of an aircraft is the most popular today for commercial airliners, for fighters, and many other kinds, because while offering safety from a single engine failure, it is also acceptably fuel-efficient.-Aircraft...

 carrier-based
Carrier-based aircraft
Carrier-based aircraft are military aircraft designed specifically for operations from aircraft carriers. The term is generally applied only to fixed-wing aircraft, as naval helicopters are able to operate from a wider variety of aviation-capable ships. Carrier-based aircraft must be relatively...

 multirole fighter
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

 aircraft. The F/A-18E single-seat variant and F/A-18F tandem-seat variant are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried with 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
McDonnell Douglas
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport...

, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Full-rate production began in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month. The Super Hornet entered service with the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 in 1999, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat since 2006, and serves alongside the original Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 (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-111
General Dynamics F-111
The General Dynamics F-111 "Aardvark" was a medium-range interdictor and tactical strike aircraft that also filled the roles of strategic bomber, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare in its various versions. Developed in the 1960s by General Dynamics, it first entered service in 1967 with the...

 fleet. RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010.

Origins


The Super Hornet traced its history back to the earlier 1980s, when an early version was marketed by McDonnell Douglas as Hornet 2000. The Hornet 2000 concept was an advanced version of the F/A-18 with a larger wing and a longer fuselage to carry more fuel and more powerful engines. The study for the Hornet 2000 was officially announced by McDonnell Douglas on 11 January 1988.

At the same time, the U.S. Naval Aviation faced a number of problems. The McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II program, intended to replace the obsolete Grumman A-6 Intruders and LTV A-7 Corsair IIs, had run into serious problems and was canceled. During this time, the end of the Cold War resulted in military restructuring and budget cuts. With no clean-sheet program in the works, the Navy considered updating an existing design a more attractive approach. As an alternative to the A-12, McDonnell Douglas proposed the "Super Hornet" (initially "Hornet II" in the 1980s) to improve early F/A-18 models, and serve as an alternate replacement for the A-6 Intruder. At the same time, the Navy needed a fleet defense fighter to replace the canceled NATF, which was a proposed navalized variant of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

Testing and production


The Super Hornet was first ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1992. The Navy would also direct that this fighter replace the aging F-14 Tomcat, essentially basing all naval combat jets on Hornet variants until the introduction of the F-35C Lightning II. The Navy retained the F/A-18 designation to help sell the program to Congress as a low-risk "derivative", though the Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft. The Hornet and Super Hornet share many design and flight characteristics, including avionics, ejection seats, radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, armament, mission computer software, and maintenance/operating procedures. In particular the initial F/A-18E/F retained most of the avionics systems from the F/A-18C/D's then current configuration.

The Super Hornet first flew on 29 November 1995. Initial production on the F/A-18E/F began in 1995. Flight testing started in 1996 with the F/A-18E/F's first carrier landing in 1997. Low-rate production began in March 1997 with full production beginning in September 1997. Testing continued through 1999, finishing with sea trials and aerial refueling demonstrations. Testing involved 3,100 test flights covering 4,600 flight hours. The Super Hornet underwent U.S. Navy operational tests and evaluations in 1999, and was approved in February 2000.

The Navy considers acquisition of the Super Hornet a success with it meeting cost, schedule, and weight (400 lb, 181 kg below) requirements. Despite having the same general layout and systems, the Super Hornet differs in many ways from the original F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet is informally referred to as the "Rhino" to distinguish it from earlier model "legacy" Hornets and to prevent confusion in radio calls. This aids safe flight operations, since the catapult and arresting systems must be set differently for the heavier Super Hornet. (The "Rhino" nickname was earlier used by the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, retired from the fleet in 1987.)

The U.S. Navy currently flies both the F/A-18E single-seater and F/A-18F two-seater in combat roles, taking the place of the retired F-14, A-6 Intruder, Lockheed S-3 Viking, and KA-6D. An electronic warfare variant, the EA-18G Growler
EA-18G Growler
The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G will replace the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler's electronic warfare capability is...

, will replace the aging EA-6B Prowler. The Navy calls this reduction in aircraft types a "neck-down". In the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 era, the Super Hornet's capabilities were covered by no less than the A-1/A-4/A-7 (light attack), A-6 (medium attack), F-8/F-4 (fighter), RA-5C (recon), KA-3/KA-6 (tanker) and EA-6 (electronic warfare). It is anticipated that $1 billion in fleet wide annual savings will result from replacing other types with the Super Hornet.

In 2003, the Navy identified a flaw in the Super Hornet's under wing pylons, which could reduce the aircraft's service life unless repaired. The problem has been corrected on new airframes and existing aircraft will be repaired starting in 2009.

After initial fleet integration began, Boeing upgraded to the block II version of the aircraft, incorporating an improved AESA radar, changing to larger displays, integrating joint helmet mounted cuing system, and replacing many aircraft avionics.

Upgrades


In early 2008, Boeing discussed creating a Super Hornet Block III with the U.S. and Australian military. It would be a generation 4.75 upgrade with extra forward stealth capabilities and extended range, planned to be succeeded in 2024 by a sixth-generation fighter (Next Generation Air Dominance, NGAD).

Development of an improved F414 engine version with better resistance to foreign object damage, and a reduced fuel burn rate began in 2009. Work is also being done on possible performance improvements to increase thrust by 20%.

A next-generation cockpit is also under development which has a very large 19in x 11in touch-sensitive display.

Boeing is studying a centerline pod, which will have four internal stations for two AIM-120 AMRAAM
AIM-120 AMRAAM
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM , is a modern beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with the same form-factor as the previous generation of semi-active guided Sparrow missiles, it is a fire-and-forget...

s and two 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munitions in a similar fashion to the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle's Conformal Weapons Bays, but with less stealth. Other improvements include a chin mounted IRST and all aspect missile and laser warning, in the same fashion as the F-35.

Boeing has offered India an "International Super Hornet Roadmap," which includes:
  • Conformal fuel tanks
  • Enhanced performance engines
  • Spherical missile / laser warning
  • Enclosed weapons pod (EWP)
  • Next-generation cockpit
  • Internal infra-red search and track
    Infra-red search and track
    An infra-red search and track system is a method for detecting and tracking objects which give off infra-red radiation such as jet aircraft and helicopters. IRST is a generalized case of Forward Looking Infra-Red , i.e. from Forward-Looking to allround situational awareness...

     (IRST).


Three EWPs could be carried, one belly mounted and one under each wing, for a total combat load of up to 12 AMRAAMs and 2 Sidewinders. By holding the weapons in the streamlined pods the aircraft can reach higher speeds and altitudes, which can increase the standoff ranges of the weapons.

Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to develop the IRST on 22 November 2011. Boeing has been issued a contract to develop a new mission computer in November 2011.

Design


The Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft. It is about 20 percent larger, 7000 lb (3,175.1 kg) heavier at empty weight, and 15000 lb (6,803.9 kg) heavier at maximum weight than the original Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33 percent more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 41 percent and endurance by 50 percent over the "Legacy" Hornet. The empty weight of the Super Hornet is about 11000 lb (4,989.5 kg) less than that of the F-14 Tomcat which it replaced, while approaching, but not matching, the F-14's payload and range.

Airframe changes


The forward fuselage is unchanged but the remainder of the aircraft shares little with earlier F/A-18C/D models. The fuselage was stretched by 34 inches (86.4 cm) to make room for fuel and future avionics upgrades and increased the wing area by 25%. However, the Super Hornet has 42% fewer structural parts than the original Hornet design. The General Electric F414
General Electric F414
The General Electric F414 is an afterburning turbofan engine in the 22,000 lbf thrust class produced by GE Aviation. The F414 was developed from GE's widely-used F404 turbofan for use in the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.-Origin:...

 engine, developed from the Hornet's F404, has 35% additional thrust over most of aircraft's flight envelope
Flight envelope
In aerodynamics, the flight envelope or performance envelope of an aircraft refers to the capabilities of a design in terms of airspeed and load factor or altitude. The term is somewhat loosely applied, and can also refer to other measurements such as maneuverability...

. The Super Hornet can return to an aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 with a larger load of unspent fuel and munitions than the original Hornet. The term for this ability is known as "bringback". Bringback for the Super Hornet is in excess of 9000 pounds (4,082.3 kg).

Other differences include rectangular intakes for the engines and two extra wing hard points for payload (for a total of 11). Among the most significant aerodynamic changes are the enlarged leading edge extension
Leading edge extension
A leading edge extension is a small extension to an aircraft wing surface, forward of the leading edge. Different kinds of extensions have been used for different reasons.-Leading edge slats:...

s (LEX) which provide improved vortex lifting characteristics in high angle of attack
Angle of attack
Angle of attack is a term used in fluid dynamics to describe the angle between a reference line on a lifting body and the vector representing the relative motion between the lifting body and the fluid through which it is moving...

 maneuvers, and reduce the static stability margin to enhance pitching characteristics. This results in pitch rates in excess of 40 degrees per second, and high resistance to departure from controlled flight.

Radar signature reduction measures


Survivability is an important feature of the Super Hornet design. The U.S. Navy took a "balanced approach" to survivability in its design. This means that it does not rely on low-observable technology, such as stealth systems, to the exclusion of other survivability factors. Instead, its design incorporates a combination of stealth, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, the use of standoff weapons, and innovative tactics that cumulatively and collectively enhance the safety of the fighter and crew.

The F/A-18E/F's radar cross section was reduced greatly from some aspects, mainly the front and rear. The design of the engine inlets reduces the aircraft's frontal radar cross section. The alignment of the leading edges of the engine inlets is designed to scatter radiation to the sides. Fixed fanlike reflecting structures in the inlet tunnel divert radar energy away from the rotating fan blades.

The Super Hornet also makes considerable use of panel joint serration and edge alignment. Considerable attention has been paid to the removal or filling of unnecessary surface join gaps and resonant cavities. Where the F/A-18A-D used grilles to cover various accessory exhaust and inlet ducts, the F/A-18E/F uses perforated panels that appear opaque to radar waves at the frequencies used. Careful attention has been paid to the alignment of many panel boundaries and edges, to direct reflected waves away from the aircraft in uniformly narrow angles.

It is claimed that the Super Hornet employs the most extensive radar cross section reduction measures of any contemporary fighter, other than the F-22 and F-35. While the F/A-18E/F is not a true stealth fighter like the F-22, it will have a frontal RCS an order of magnitude smaller than prior generation fighters.

Avionics


The Super Hornet's original avionics and software have a 90% commonality with then current F/A-18C/Ds. The Super Hornet features a new touch-sensitive, up-front control display; a larger, liquid crystal multipurpose color display; and a new engine fuel display. The Super Hornet has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire system, as well as a digital flight-control system that detects and corrects for battle damage. Initial production models used the APG-73 radar, later replaced by the APG-79
APG-79
The AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar is a new development for the United States Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft, providing a high level of aircrew situational awareness. The beam of the AESA radar provides nearly instantaneous track updates and...

 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA). The AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR
AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR
The AN/ASQ-228 Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared is a multi-sensor, electro-optical targeting pod incorporating infrared, low-light television camera, laser rangefinder/target designator, and laser spot tracker developed and manufactured by Raytheon...

 (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking InfraRed), is the main electro-optical sensor and laser designator pod for the Super Hornet. The communications equipment consist of an AN/AR-210 VHF/UHF radio and a MIDS
Multifunctional Information Distribution System
Multifunctional Information Distribution System is the NATO name for the communication component of Link-16.One commonly used instantiation of an MIDS is the MIDS Low Volume Terminal which has been funded by the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain and developed by MIDSCO, a joint...

 low volume terminal for HAVE QUICK
HAVE QUICK
HAVE QUICK is a frequency-hopping system used to protect military UHF radio traffic.Since the end of World War II, U.S. and Allied military aircraft have used AM radios in the 225–400 MHz UHF band for short range air-to-air and ground-to-air communications...

, SINCGARS
SINCGARS
SINCGARS is a Combat Net Radio currently used by U.S. and allied military forces. The radios, which handle voice and data communications, are designed to be reliable, secure and easily maintained...

 and Link 16
Link 16
Link 16 is a military tactical data exchange network created and used by the United States and adopted by some of its Allies and by NATO. Its specification is part of the family of Tactical Data Links....

 connectivity.

The defensive countermeasures of block I aircraft includes the AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver, the AN/ALE-47
AN/ALE-47
The AN/ALE-47 Airborne Countermeasures Dispenser System is used to protect military aircraft from incoming radar and infrared homing missiles. It works by dispensing flares or chaff. It is used on a variety of U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Army aircraft, as well as in other militaries...

 countermeasures dispenser, the AN/ALE-50 towed decoy and the AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self-Protect Jammer (ASPJ). Newer block II aircraft replace the ALQ-165 with the AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Countermeasures (IDECM) system which consists of internally mounted threat receivers and optional self-protection jammers. The interior and exterior lighting on the block II has also been changed to allow the air crew to use night vision goggles
Night vision goggles
A night vision device is an optical instrument that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness. They are most often used by the military and law enforcement agencies, but are available to civilian users...

 (NVG). The older ALE-50 decoys are being replaced by ALE-55 towed decoys
AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy
The AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy, or ALE-55, is an RF countermeasure under development by BAE Systems Electronic Solutions for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.- Overview :...

, which can transmit jamming signals based on data received from the IDECM.

Tanker role


The Super Hornet, unlike the previous Hornet, is designed so it can be equipped with an aerial refueling system (ARS) or "buddy store" for the refueling of other aircraft, filling the tactical airborne tanker role the Navy had lost with the retirement of the KA-6D and Lockheed S-3B Viking tankers. The ARS includes an external 330 gallons (1,249.2 l) tank with hose reel on the centerline along with four external 480 gallons (1,817 l) tanks and internal tanks for a total of 29000 pounds (13,154.2 kg) of fuel on the aircraft. While useful, this technique is less than ideal, as for a given mission the carrier's complement of fighters is effectively halved since each "buddy tanker" can refuel one aircraft at a time.

Upgrades


Beginning in 2005, new build aircraft received the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array
Active Electronically Scanned Array
An Active Electronically Scanned Array , also known as active phased array radar is a type of phased array radar whose transmitter and receiver functions are composed of numerous small solid-state transmit/receive modules . AESAs aim their "beam" by broadcasting radio energy that interfere...

 (AESA) radar. Earlier production aircraft will have their APG-73 replaced with the APG-79. In January 2008, 135 earlier production aircraft were to receive the AESA radar via retrofits.

The new APG-79 AESA radar offers several advantages for the Super Hornet. The new radar enables its crew to execute simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. The APG-79 also provides higher quality high-resolution ground mapping at long standoff ranges. The AESA radar can also detect smaller targets, such as inbound missiles and can track air targets beyond the range of the Super Hornet's own air to air missiles. VFA-213
VFA-213
Strike Fighter Squadron 213 Black Lions is an aviation unit of the United States Navy based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia . It was established in 1955 and is currently equipped with the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet...

 became "safe for flight" (independently fly and maintain the F/A-18F) on 27 October 2006 and is the first Super Hornet squadron to fly AESA-equipped Super Hornets.

The AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy
AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy
The AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy, or ALE-55, is an RF countermeasure under development by BAE Systems Electronic Solutions for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.- Overview :...

 will replace the ALE-50. The improved AN/ALQ-214 jammer was added on Super Hornet Block II.

The first Super Hornet upgraded with an aft cockpit Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) was delivered to VFA-213 on 18 May 2007. VFA-213 is the first squadron to receive the Dual-Cockpit Cueing System for both pilot and weapon systems officer
Weapon systems officer
A Weapon Systems Officer is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the fighter in the United States Navy. A Weapon Systems Officer ("WSO", pronounced "wizzo") is an air Flight Officer directly involved in all air operations and weapon systems of the...

. The JHMCS provides multi-purpose aircrew situational awareness including high-off-bore-sight cuing of the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. The Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) is a high-resolution, digital tactical air reconnaissance system that features advanced day/night and all-weather capability.

In the future, air-to-air target detection using Infrared Search and Track (IRST) in the form of a passive, long range sensor that detects long wave IR emissions will be an option with a unique solution. This new device will be a sensor built into the front of a centerline external fuel tank. Operational capability of this device is expected in 2013. On 18 May 2009, Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 announced it had been selected by Boeing to conduct the technology development phase of this sensor.

The Multifunctional Information Distribution System
Multifunctional Information Distribution System
Multifunctional Information Distribution System is the NATO name for the communication component of Link-16.One commonly used instantiation of an MIDS is the MIDS Low Volume Terminal which has been funded by the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain and developed by MIDSCO, a joint...

 low volume terminal is being upgraded with the MIDS-JTRS, which will allow a tenfold increase in bandwidth as well as compatibility with the Joint Tactical Radio System standards. Initial operational capability is planned for January 2011.

United States Navy


The Super Hornet achieved initial operating capability
Initial operating capability
Initial operating capability or Initial operational capability is the state achieved when a capability is available in its minimum usefully deployable form. The term is often used in government or military procurement....

 (IOC) in September 2001 with the U.S. Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115
VFA-115
Strike Fighter Squadron 115 , also known as the "Eagles", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi...

) at Naval Air Station Lemoore
Naval Air Station Lemoore
Naval Air Station Lemoore or NAS Lemoore is a United States Navy base, located in Kings County and Fresno County, California. Lemoore Station, California, a census-designated place, is located inside the base's borders....

, California. VFA-115 was also the first unit to take their F/A-18 Super Hornets into combat. On 6 November 2002, two F/A-18Es conducted a "Response Option" strike in support of Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch
Operation Southern Watch was an operation conducted by Joint Task Force Southwest Asia with the mission of monitoring and controlling airspace south of the 32nd Parallel in Iraq, following the 1991 Gulf War until the 2003 invasion of Iraq.-Summary:Operation Southern Watch began on 27 August 1992...

 on two surface-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
A surface-to-air missile or ground-to-air missile is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles...

 launchers at Al Kut and an air defense command and control bunker at Tallil air base. One of the pilots, Lieutenant John Turner, dropped 2000 pounds (907.2 kg) JDAM bombs for the first time from the Super Hornet during combat.

In support of the Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War), VFA-14
VFA-14
The Strike Fighter Squadron 14 "Tophatters" are a United States Navy fighter attack squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. They fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and are the Navy's oldest active squadron, having formed in 1919...

, VFA-41
VFA-41
Strike Fighter Squadron 41 also known as the "Black Aces", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California ....

 and VFA-115
VFA-115
Strike Fighter Squadron 115 , also known as the "Eagles", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi...

 flew close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

, strike, escort, SEAD
SEAD
Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses , also known as "Wild Weasel" and "Iron Hand" operations in the United States, are military actions to suppress enemy surface-based air defenses , primarily in the first hours of an attack.One fourth of American combat sorties in recent conflicts have been SEAD...

 and aerial refueling sorties. Two F/A-18Es from VFA-14 and two F/A-18Fs from VFA-41 were forward deployed to the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
USS Abraham Lincoln , is the fifth Nimitz-class supercarrier in the United States Navy. She is the second Navy ship named after former president Abraham Lincoln. Her home port is Everett, Washington.-Construction:...

. The VFA-14 aircraft flew mostly as aerial refuelers and the VFA-41 fighters as Forward Air Controller (Airborne) or FAC(A)s. On 6 April 2005, VFA-154
VFA-154
Strike Fighter Squadron 154 , also known as "City Dump" throughout the Vietnam War, is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The "Dumpers" petitioned to have their call sign changed in the late 1970s to the Black Knights, and were granted the change. ...

 and VFA-147
VFA-147
Strike Fighter Squadron 147 , also known as the "Argonauts", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore California. VFA-147 flies the F/A-18E Super Hornet as part of Carrier Air Wing Fourteen...

 (the latter squadron then still operating F/A-18Cs) dropped two 500 pounds (226.8 kg) laser-guided bombs on enemy insurgent location east of Baghdad.

On 8 September 2006, VFA-211
VFA-211
Strike Fighter Squadron 211 , nicknamed the "Fighting Checkmates", is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1945. The squadron is based at Naval Air Station Oceana and is equipped with the F/A-18F Super Hornet....

 F/A-18F Super Hornets expended GBU-12 and GBU-38 bombs against Taliban fighters and Taliban fortifications west and northwest of Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

. This was the first time the unit was in combat with the Super Hornet.
During the 2006–2007 cruise with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, VFA-103
VFA-103
Strike Fighter Squadron 103 , nicknamed the Jolly Rogers is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1952. VFA-103 flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia...

 and VFA-143
VFA-143
Strike Fighter Squadron 143 , also known as the "Pukin Dogs", are a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The Pukin Dogs are an operational fleet squadron and flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet. They are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Seven and...

 supported Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and operations off the Somali
Somalia
Somalia , officially the Somali Republic and formerly known as the Somali Democratic Republic under Socialist rule, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. Since the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in 1991 there has been no central government control over most of the country's territory...

 coast. Alongside "Legacy Hornet" squadrons, VFA-131
VFA-131
Strike Fighter Squadron 131 , also known as the "Wildcats", is a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. Their radio call sign is "Cat" and their aircraft tail code is AG.-Mission:...

 and VFA-83
VFA-83
Strike Fighter Squadron 83 , also known as the "Rampagers", are a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana...

, they dropped 140 precision guided weapons and performed nearly 70 strafing runs.

In 2007, Boeing proposed additional F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy in a multi-year contract. In 2008, it was reported that the Navy was considering buying additional F/A-18 Super Hornets to bridge a "strike-fighter" gap. As of October 2008, Boeing had delivered 367 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy.

On 6 April 2009, Defense Secretary Gates announced that the Department of Defense intends to acquire further 31 F/A-18s in FY2010. Congressional action has requested that the DoD study a further multi-year contract in order to avoid a projected strike fighter shortfall. The FY2010 budget bill authorizes, but does not require, a multiyear purchase agreement for additional Super Hornets.
On 14 May 2010, it was reported that Boeing and the US Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 reached an agreement for a multi-year contract for an additional 66 F/A-18E/Fs and 58 EA-18Gs over the next four years. The latest order for 124 aircraft will raise the total fleet count to 515 F/A-18E/Fs and 114 EA-18Gs. However the Navy is already 60 fighters below its validated requirement for fighter aircraft and this purchase will not close the gap. The deal was finalized on 28 September 2010 for a multi-year contract said to save $600 million (over per year contracts) for 66 Super Hornets and 58 Growlers and to help deal with a four-year delay in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Royal Australian Air Force


On 3 May 2007, the Australian Government
Government of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a federal constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary democracy. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 as a result of an agreement among six self-governing British colonies, which became the six states...

 signed a contract to acquire 24 F/A-18Fs for the Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

 (RAAF), at a cost of A$
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

2.9 billion, as an interim replacement for the aging F-111
General Dynamics F-111C
The General Dynamics F-111C is a variant of the F-111 Aardvark medium-range interdictor and tactical strike aircraft, developed by General Dynamics to meet Australian requirements. The design was based on the F-111A model but included longer wings and strengthened undercarriage...

s. The total cost with training and support over 10 years is A$6 billion (US$4.6 billion). The Super Hornets were ordered to replace the F-111, which was retired in December 2010, pending the delivery of the F-35 Lightning II.

The order remains controversial, with critics including some retired senior RAAF officers. Air Vice Marshal (ret.) Peter Criss, a former Air Commander Australia, said he was "absolutely astounded" that the Australian government would spend $6 billion on an interim aircraft. Criss has also cited evidence given by the US Senate Armed Services Committee that the Super Hornet Block I specific excess power is inferior to the MiG-29
Mikoyan MiG-29
The Mikoyan MiG-29 is a fourth-generation jet fighter aircraft designed in the Soviet Union for an air superiority role. Developed in the 1970s by the Mikoyan design bureau, it entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983, and remains in use by the Russian Air Force as well as in many other...

 and Su-30
Sukhoi Su-30
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seat military aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.The Su-30 started out as an internal development project in the Sukhoi Su-27 family...

, which are already operated, or have been ordered, by air forces in South East Asia. Air Commodore
Air Commodore
Air commodore is an air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force...

 (ret.) Ted Bushell stated that the F/A-18F could not perform the role that the Australian government had given it, and the F-111 airframe design would remain suitable for the strategic deterrent/strike role until at least 2020. Some critics have claimed that the decision to buy the F/A-18F merely serves to ease the sale of additional Super Hornets to Australia, should the F-35 program "encounter more problems".

A review of the purchase was announced on 31 December 2007, by the new Australian Labor government
First Rudd Ministry
The Rudd Ministry was the 65th Australian Commonwealth ministry. It was led by Kevin Rudd of the Australian Labor Party.The Ministry was sworn in by the 24th Governor-General of Australia Major-General Michael Jeffery on 3 December 2007, following the 2007 election, and it ended on 24 June 2010...

, as part of a wider review of the RAAF's combat aircraft procurement plans. The main reasons given were concerns over operational suitability, the lack of a proper review process, and internal beliefs that an interim fighter was not required. On 17 March 2008, the Government announced that it would proceed with plans to acquire all 24 F/A-18Fs. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon
Joel Fitzgibbon
Joel Andrew Fitzgibbon is an Australian politician and Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1996, representing the Division of Hunter in New South Wales. From December 2007 to June 2009 he was the Minister for Defence in the Rudd Ministry...

 said that the Super Hornet was an "excellent aircraft". However, Fitzgibbon also indicated that costs and logistical factors contributed to the decision: retirement of the F-111 had occurred in haste and was "irreversible", meaning that the F/A-18F was "the only aircraft" that could "meet the small delivery window", and "cancelling the Super Hornet would bring significant financial penalties and create understandable tensions between the contract partners."
The Block II package aircraft offered to the RAAF include installed engines and six spares, APG-79 AESA radars, Link 16 connectivity, LAU-127 guided missile launchers, AN/ALE-55 fiber optic towed decoys
AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy
The AN/ALE-55 Fiber-Optic Towed Decoy, or ALE-55, is an RF countermeasure under development by BAE Systems Electronic Solutions for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.- Overview :...

 and other equipment. The Government has also sought US export approval for Boeing EA-18G Growlers. On 27 February 2009, Fitzgibbon announced that 12 of the 24 Super Hornets would be wired on the production line for future modification as EA-18Gs. The additional wiring would cost A$35 million. The final decision on conversion to EA-18Gs, at a cost of A$300 million, would be made in 2012.

The first RAAF Super Hornet was completed in 2009 and first flew from Boeing's factory in St. Louis, Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 on 21 July 2009. RAAF pilots and air combat officers began training in the USA in 2009, with No. 1 Squadron
No. 1 Squadron RAAF
No. 1 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron based at RAAF Amberley. The squadron is currently being re-equipped with F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighters.-World War I:...

 planned to become fully operational with the F/A-18F in 2010. The RAAF's first five Super Hornets arrived at their home base, RAAF Base Amberley
RAAF Base Amberley
RAAF Base Amberley is a Royal Australian Air Force base located southwest of Ipswich, Queensland and southwest of Brisbane. It is currently home to No. 1 Squadron and No. 6 Squadron , No. 33 Squadron and No. 36 Squadron...

 in Queensland, on 26 March 2010. These initial aircraft were joined by six more aircraft on 7 July 2010. With the arrival of another four aircraft in December 2010, the first RAAF F/A-18F squadron was declared operational on 9 December 2010.

The RAAF may need to buy an additional 18 Super Hornets to fill the gap in its air defense because of F-35 development delays.

Potential operators



The United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 has avoided the Super Hornet program and their resistance is so high that they would rather fly former Navy F/A-18Cs that have been replaced with Super Hornets. This is said to be because they fear that any Super Hornet buys will be at the cost of the F-35B STOVL
STOVL
STOVL is an acronym for short take off and vertical landing.This is the ability of some aircraft to take off from a short runway or take off vertically if it does not have a very heavy payload and land vertically...

 fighters that they intend to operate from amphibious ships. As a concession, the Marine Corps has agreed to eventually equip five Marine fighter-attack squadrons (VMFA) with the F-35C carrier variant to continue to augment Navy carrier air wings as they currently do with the F/A-18C.

Boeing offered Malaysia the Super Hornets as part of a buy-back package for its existing F/A-18 Hornets in 2002. However, the Super Hornet procurement was halted after the government decided to purchase the Sukhoi Su-30
Sukhoi Su-30
The Sukhoi Su-30 is a twin-engine, two-seat military aircraft developed by Russia's Sukhoi Aviation Corporation. It is a multirole fighter for all-weather, air-to-air and air-to-surface deep interdiction missions.The Su-30 started out as an internal development project in the Sukhoi Su-27 family...

MKM instead in 2007. But RMAF Chief Gen. Datuk Nik Ismail Nik Mohamaed indicated that the RMAF had not planned to end procurement of the Super Hornets, instead saying that the air force needed such fighters.

Boeing has delivered Super Hornet proposals to the Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

ian governments in 2008. The Super Hornet is one of three fighter aircraft in a Danish competition to replace 48 F-16s. In October 2008, it was reported the Super Hornet was selected as one of three finalists in Brazil's fighter competition. Brazil has put forward an initial requirement for 36 aircraft, with a potential total purchase of 120 examples. In 2008, the Danish Air Force
Royal Danish Air Force
The Royal Danish Air Force is the air force of Denmark with the capability to undertake homeland defense and homeland security roles as well international operations.-History:...

 had been offered the Super Hornet, however to date no order has been placed.
For India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

's ongoing MMRCA competition
Indian MRCA Competition
The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft Competition, also known as the MRCA tender, is an ongoing competition to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force . The Defence Ministry has allocated for the purchase of these aircraft, making it India's single largest...

, Boeing offered a customized variant called F/A-18IN which included Raytheon
Raytheon
Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007...

's APG-79
APG-79
The AN/APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar is a new development for the United States Navy's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft, providing a high level of aircrew situational awareness. The beam of the AESA radar provides nearly instantaneous track updates and...

 AESA radar. In August 2008, Boeing submitted an industrial participation proposal to India describing partnerships with companies in India. The Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict...

 (IAF) extensively evaluated the Super Hornets and conducted field trials in August 2009. However, in April 2011, the IAF rejected F/A-18IN's bid in favor of Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...

 and Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing multi-role jet fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Introduced in 2000, the Rafale is being produced both for land-based use with the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations with the French Navy...

.

On 10 March 2009, Boeing offered the Super Hornet for Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

's Next-Generation Fighter Program.

The House version of the Fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization Bill includes language that advises the USAF to consider adopting Super Hornets in order to avoid a gap in the nation's air defenses while the JSF ramps up.

On 1 August 2010, The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

reported that the British government was considering canceling orders for the F-35 Lightning II and buying the Super Hornet for its Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers instead. It is claimed that this would save the UK defence budget about £10 billion. An industry source has suggested that the Super Hornet could even be skijump launched without catapults.

The United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

 has asked for information on the Super Hornet.

Boeing complained that the "stealth characteristics" of the Super Hornet were ignored in Canada's sole source selection of the F-35.

In early 2011, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 was considering the F/A-18 Super Hornet, among other aircraft, as a replacement for its MiG-21 fleet.

Variants

  • F/A-18E Super Hornet: single seat variant.
  • F/A-18F Super Hornet: two-seat variant.
  • EA-18G Growler
    EA-18G Growler
    The Boeing EA-18G Growler is an American carrier-based electronic warfare aircraft, a specialized version of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornet. The EA-18G will replace the Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowlers in service with the United States Navy. The Growler's electronic warfare capability is...

    : The electronic warfare version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Went into low rate production in 2007, with fleet deployment in 2009. The EA-18G will replace the U.S. Navy's EA-6B Prowler.

Operators





  Australia
  • Royal Australian Air Force
    Royal Australian Air Force
    The Royal Australian Air Force is the air force branch of the Australian Defence Force. The RAAF was formed in March 1921. It continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps , which was formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF has taken part in many of the 20th century's major conflicts...

    • No. 1 Squadron RAAF
      No. 1 Squadron RAAF
      No. 1 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force squadron based at RAAF Amberley. The squadron is currently being re-equipped with F/A-18F Super Hornet multi-role fighters.-World War I:...

    • No. 6 Squadron RAAF
      No. 6 Squadron RAAF
      No. 6 Squadron is a Royal Australian Air Force training and bomber squadron. The squadron was first formed in 1917 and served as a training unit based in England during World War I. It was disbanded in 1919 but re-formed at the start of 1939...



  United States
  • United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    • Pacific Fleet
      • VFA-2
        VFA-2
        Strike Fighter Squadron 2 also known as the "Bounty Hunters" is a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. Their tail code is NE and their callsign is "Bullet"...

         "Bounty Hunters" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-14
        VFA-14
        The Strike Fighter Squadron 14 "Tophatters" are a United States Navy fighter attack squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. They fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet, and are the Navy's oldest active squadron, having formed in 1919...

         "Tophatters" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-22
        VFA-22
        VFA-22, Strike Fighter Squadron 22, also known as the "Fighting Redcocks", are a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore...

         "Fighting Redcocks" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-27
        VFA-27
        Strike Fighter Squadron 27 , also known as the "Royal Maces", are a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing 5 and are attached to the USS George Washington...

         "Royal Maces" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-41
        VFA-41
        Strike Fighter Squadron 41 also known as the "Black Aces", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California ....

         "Black Aces" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-102
        VFA-102
        Strike Fighter Squadron 102 is a United States Navy Strike Fighter squadron based at NAF Atsugi. Their call sign is 'Diamondback', with the tail code "NF," and they fly the F/A-18F Super Hornet.-History:...

         "Diamondbacks" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-115
        VFA-115
        Strike Fighter Squadron 115 , also known as the "Eagles", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi...

         "Eagles" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-122
        VFA-122
        Strike Fighter Squadron 122 , also known as the "Flying Eagles", are a United States Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F/A-18 Hornet A/B/C/D Fleet Replacement Squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore.-History:...

         "Flying Eagles" (Fleet Replacement Squadron, operates F/A-18A/A+/B/C/D/E/F)
      • VFA-137
        VFA-137
        Strike Fighter Squadron 137 , also known as the "Kestrels", are a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore...

         "Kestrels" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-147
        VFA-147
        Strike Fighter Squadron 147 , also known as the "Argonauts", is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore California. VFA-147 flies the F/A-18E Super Hornet as part of Carrier Air Wing Fourteen...

         "Argonauts" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-154
        VFA-154
        Strike Fighter Squadron 154 , also known as "City Dump" throughout the Vietnam War, is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The "Dumpers" petitioned to have their call sign changed in the late 1970s to the Black Knights, and were granted the change. ...

         "Black Knights" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-192
        VFA-192
        Strike Fighter Squadron 192 , also known as the "World Famous Golden Dragons", are a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet fighter squadron stationed at NAS Lemoore...

         "Golden Dragons" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-195
        VFA-195
        Strike Fighter Squadron 195 , also known as the "Dambusters", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi...

         "Dambusters" (F/A-18E)
    • Atlantic Fleet
      • VFA-11
        VFA-11
        Strike Fighter Squadron 11 , also known as the "Red Rippers", are a United States Navy fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA...

         "Red Rippers" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-31
        VF-31
        VFA-31 or Strike Fighter Squadron 31 is known as the Tomcatters, callsign "Felix", a United States Navy strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet.-Squadron insignia and nickname:...

         "Tomcatters" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-32
        VFA-32
        The "Fighting Swordsmen" of Strike Fighter Squadron THIRTY-TWO are a United States Navy strike fighter squadron presently flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet and based ashore at Naval Air Station Oceana...

         "Swordsmen" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-34
        VFA-34
        Strike Fighter Squadron 34 , also known as the "Blue Blasters", is a United States Navy F/A-18C Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing 2 and are attached to the...

         "Blue Blasters" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-81
        VFA-81
        Strike Fighter Squadron 81 , also known as the "Sunliners", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen, their radio callsign is Zapper, and their tail code is AA...

         "Sunliners" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-103
        VFA-103
        Strike Fighter Squadron 103 , nicknamed the Jolly Rogers is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1952. VFA-103 flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia...

         "Jolly Rogers" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-105
        VFA-105
        Strike Fighter Squadron 105 also known as the "Gunslingers" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The "Gunslingers" are an operational fleet squadron and fly the F/A-18E Super Hornet...

         "Gunslingers" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-106
        VFA-106
        Strike Fighter Squadron 106 , also known as the "Gladiators," is a United States Navy F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18 Super Hornet Fleet Replacement Squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia.-Mission:...

         "Gladiators" (Fleet Replacement Squadron, operates F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F)
      • VFA-136
        VFA-136
        Strike Fighter Squadron 136 also known as the "Knighthawks" is a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The "Knighthawks" are an operational fleet squadron flying the F/A-18 Hornet. They are attached to Carrier Air Wing One and homeported at NAS...

         "Knighthawks" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-143
        VFA-143
        Strike Fighter Squadron 143 , also known as the "Pukin Dogs", are a United States Navy strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia. The Pukin Dogs are an operational fleet squadron and flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet. They are currently attached to Carrier Air Wing Seven and...

         "Pukin' Dogs" (F/A-18E)
      • VFA-211
        VFA-211
        Strike Fighter Squadron 211 , nicknamed the "Fighting Checkmates", is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1945. The squadron is based at Naval Air Station Oceana and is equipped with the F/A-18F Super Hornet....

         "Fighting Checkmates" (F/A-18F)
      • VFA-213
        VFA-213
        Strike Fighter Squadron 213 Black Lions is an aviation unit of the United States Navy based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia . It was established in 1955 and is currently equipped with the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet...

         "Black Lions" (F/A-18F)
    • Test and Evaluation Units
      • VX-9
        VX-9
        VX-9. Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine, is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California...

         Vampires (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
      • VX-23
        VX-23
        Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland...

         Salty Dogs (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
      • VX-31
        VX-31
        Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 31 is a United States Navy air test and evaluation squadron based at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California...

         Dust Devils (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
      • NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center), received F/A-18F, also operates other aircraft)


Each squadron has a standard unit establishment of 12 aircraft. The F/A-18E/F transition is still in progress as of early 2007.

Specifications (F/A-18E/F)



Notable appearances in media


Jane's Combat Simulations
Jane's Combat Simulations
Jane's Combat Simulations was a brand of PC flight and combat simulators released by Electronic Arts . The Jane's Information Group sold the rights to EA so that EA could lend authenticity and accuracy to their growing line of combat games....

 released a simulator based on the F/A-18E Super Hornet titled "Jane's F/A-18
Jane's F/A-18
Jane's F/A-18 is one of the final study flight simulators by Electronic Arts under Jane's Combat Simulations brand, the sequel to the highly successful Jane's F-15. Jane's F/A-18 was released in 1999; it simulates the F/A-18E Super Hornet and carrier-based aviation in a fictional campaign around...

" in 2000. The Super Hornet is the main carrier jet in the film Behind Enemy Lines.

See also


External links