Markings:U.S. Navy Blue Angels, 2012
The Hornet was developed in the mid-1970s as a replacement for the F-4 Phantom and the A-7 Corsair that were then in use by the U.S. Navy and Marines as ground attack aircraft. The F/A-18 was derived from the YF-17 that had competed for the U.S. Air Force contract that resulted in the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The YF-17 was redesigned to add more fuel, folding wings, and strengthened landing gear among other changes to adapt it for use from aircraft carriers. The first production versions of the Hornet went into service with the Navy and Marines in 1983. Most of the early F/A-18A Hornets have been retired but some continue to fly with Navy and Marine training squadrons. The F/A-18C and the newest F/A-18E and F Super Hornets are the primary fighters and attack aircraft for the US Navy and Marines. Hornets have been sold to several foreign nations including Australia, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, Kuwait, and Malaysia.
The F/A-18 was adopted by the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team in 1986. It has now served with the team for 26 years. That makes it the longest serving aircraft type to fly with the Navy's aerial demonstration team.
- Wingspan: 40 ft
- Length: 56 ft
- Height: 15 ft 4 in
- Weight: 36,970 lbs
- Max. Speed: Mach 1.8
- Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft
- Range: 1,089 miles
- Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans
- Crew: 1