F/A-18 Hornet – Navy Carrier Multirole Fighter


The world’s premier naval fighter originated as a more sophisticated naval derivative of the Northrop YF-17 that was pitted against the General Dynamics YF-16 in the US Navy’s Air Combat Fighter programme of 1976. The YF-17 was selected by the US Navy and eventually adopted as the F/A-18 Hornet. Even though the YF-16 lightweight fighter lost this compwetition for the naval fighter, it was adopted by the US Air Force as the F-16. The first of 11 trials Hornets made its maiden flight on 18 November 1978. Production of the initial F/A-18A single-seat version eventually totalled 371 aircraft, the first US Navy squadron receiving its aircraft in 1983.
The F/A-18 offers much greater weapons delivery accuracy than its predecessors, and is a genuinely multi-role aircraft, with remarkable dog-fighting ability. Its advanced APG-65 multi-mode radar has become the benchmark fighter radar.
For air superiority role the original F/A-18A Hornet was armed with AIM-7 Sparrow short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles and improved versions of AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles. For ground attack role it used AGM-62 Walleye, AGM-65 Maverick and AGM-84E SLAM missiles. For anti-shipping role it carried AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The F/A-18 could also carry AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles, that could be used against hostile air defense systems. There was also an M61A1 Vulcan six-barrel 20 mm cannon.
The F/A-18 made its combat debut during the El Dorado Canyon action against Libya in April 1986, and was heavily committed to action during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
The F/A-18A was superseded by the F/A-18C, which remained the principal single-seat production model up to 1999, some 347 having been ordered for US service. The first F/A-18C made its maiden flight on 3 September 1986. This version introduced compability with the AIM-120 AMRAAM and the IIR version of the AGM-65 Maverick missile, as well as improved avionics and a new NACES ejection seat.
Credit to : Matsimus