The FA-18 Hornet is an all-weather fighter jet that can be deployed on land or on an aircraft carrier. The airplane completed its first flight on September 13, 1978 and it remains in production today, although the current model is vastly different from the original FA-18. In addition to serving in the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the FA-18 Hornet serves the military needs of other countries as well, though none employs it as a carrier-based aircraft. The FA-18 Hornet is flown by the Blue Angels aerobatic team.
The FA-18 Hornet is primarily used as a Navy escort fighter, reconnaissance aircraft, and for destroying ground-based air defenses. It was originally developed as a replacement for the A-7 Corsair, F-4 Phantom, and A-4 Skyhawk.
The Hornet often flies missions shared by the F-14 Tomcat and Super Hornet. The most current version is the FA-18E/F Super Hornet, which is not technically an upgrade of the FA-18 though it’s based on certain aspects of the Hornet’s design. Mostly, the Super Hornet employs a 25% larger airframe than the Hornet.
The FA-18 is extremely maneuverable because of its digital fly-by-wire control system, thrust to weight ratio, and the wings’ leading edge extensions. Unlike conventional aircraft, the Hornet is easily controllable even when at high angles of attack. Though this might normally result in a stall, the FA-18 can generate sufficient lift due to the plane’s configuration and design, in particular because of the wing extensions. Such stability is the primary reason why the FA-18 makes for a superior dogfighter. Even without its incredible speed, the FA-18’s maneuverability makes it difficult to shoot down from air or ground-based defensive systems.
Due to its superior performance and tactical weaponry, the FA-18 Hornet will doubtlessly remain in service for many years to come with deployment world-wide.
Here are some specifications:
Maximum speed: Mach 1.8
Range: 330 mi
Ceiling: 50,000 ft
Length: 56 ft
Wingspan: 40 ft
Height: 15 ft 4 in
Maximum weight: 51,550 lb
Empty weight: 24,700 lb
Engine(s): Two General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
Rate of climb: 50,000 feet per minute
Armament: Combination of missiles, rockets, and bombs
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