McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer | The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet became one of the most successful fourth-generation fighters of the next few years.
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer
|Type||Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 Hornet|
|Cost||$ 29-57 Million|
|Year of development||1983|
|Development Status||Active, in-service|
|Manufacturer||Boeing / Northrop Corporation / McDonnell Douglas|
|Engine||Two General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofan afterburner engines, each with 17,750 pounds of thrust|
|Max Speed||1034 knots (1190 mph)|
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – The U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps used the multi-role McDonnell Douglas FA-18 Hornet to successfully combat a variety of carrier-based aircraft.
From the outset, the aircraft was designed to have a multi-role capability, functioning as both a fleet defense interceptor and a ground attack interceptor in a minimal configuration.
This was beneficial to the United States Navy (USN), which relied on specialized products such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat for fleet defense and the Grumman A-6 Intruder/Watts A-7 Corsair II for attacking aircraft carriers (the Tomcat did not acquire bomb attack capability until late in its service).
The F/A-18 came on the scene after the completion of the VFAX (Navy Fighter Attack) program, which called for a new multi-role light fighter to replace the aging current fighter and attack aircraft.
The project ballooned and was eventually shut down in August 1974, prompting the US Navy to revisit two USAF competitors, General Dynamics’ YF-16 and Northrop’s YF-17 Cobra.
The two aircraft would then go their separate ways, with the YF-16 evolving into the US F-16 Fighting Falcon and the YF-17 evolving into the US F/A-18 Hornet.
The armament of the McDonnell Douglas FA-18 Hornet
The Hornet’s armament includes the standard M61A1 Vulcan six-shooter, mounted in the nose for close-range combat and firing 578 x 20 mm shells.
There are nine open mounting points, two under each wing, two starter rails on the wingtips, and three areas under the fuselage. Disposable external fuel tanks typically occupy the axial positions, and the wing boom launchers are reserved for AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.
Prior to the deployment of the AMRAAM missile, it carried the medium-range series, AIM-7 Sparrow. In the attack role, it can carry and launch a variety of air-to-ground munitions, including missiles, guided and precision weapons, rocket pods, and nuclear bombs.
These include 70mm and 127mm Zuni missiles (using underhood launchers), SLAM-ER missiles, AGM-88 anti-radiation missiles, AGM-154 Joint Reserve Weapon (JSOW), and Taurus cruise missiles.
The F/A-18 was later converted into the highly effective two-seat F/A-18E/F Super Hornet series (see other sections of the website for more information).
This aircraft carried a second crew and was equipped with more powerful GE turbofan engines for increased range and armament.
Favorable structural changes were also made, and the prop was enlarged from the standard nine positions to eleven, a task that led to the final Hornet.
In addition, Boeing is currently (2014) developing the E/F Super Hornet, an “improved Super Hornet” for Lockheed’s F-35 Lightning II customers who are awaiting delivery of the fifth-generation fighter.
The formal introduction of the F-35 continues to be postponed for a variety of reasons, and Boeing is trying to fill the gap with this interim solution.
Boeing’s EA-18G Growler is the Super Hornet’s special mission aircraft, replacing Grumman’s EA-6B Growler family in the electronic warfare aircraft (EBA) role.