McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

 

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat aircraft, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft. Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from Northrup's YF-17 in the late 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations including Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain, and Switzerland, to name a few, and since 1986, by the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.

The F/A-18 has a top speed of Mach 1.8 and can carry a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air and air-to-ground, supplemented by a 20-mm M61 Vulcan cannon. It is powered by two General Electric F404 turbofan engines, which give the aircraft a high thrust-to-weight ratio. The F/A-18 has excellent aerodynamic characteristics, primarily attributed to its leading-edge extensions. The fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be an absolutely valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its earlier contemporaries, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in the fighter and strike fighter role, and the Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II in the attack role.

The Hornet first saw combat action during the 1986 United States bombing of Libya and subsequently participated in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. The F/A-18 Hornet served as the baseline for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, its larger, evolutionary redesign.

Hornets and Super Hornets will serve complementary roles in the U.S. Navy carrier fleet until the Hornet A-D models are completely replaced by the F-35C Lightning II. The Marines have chosen to extend the use of certain F/A-18s up to 10,000 flight hours, due to delays in the F-35B variant.

Photos in the slideshow were taken between August 2015 and December 2017.  Apologies for the large copyrights in each photo - this is necessary in this day and age where photos are widely stolen and passed along as if they are one's own.