McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

 

The Boeing F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornet are twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F two-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C/D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm M61 rotary cannon and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried in up to five external fuel tanks and the aircraft can be configured as an airborne tanker by adding an external air refueling system.

Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Low-rate production began in early 1997 with full-rate production starting in September 1997, following the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month. The Super Hornet entered service with the United States Navy in 1999, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was retired in 2006; the Super Hornet serves alongside the original F/A-18 Hornet and will serve alongside the F-35C Lightning II. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which has operated the F/A-18A as its main fighter since 1984, ordered the F/A-18F in 2007 to replace its aging F-111C fleet. RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010.

The Super Hornet is an evolutionary redesign of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The Navy retained the F/A-18 designation to help sell the program to Congress as a low-risk "derivative", though the Super Hornet is a new aircraft. Both the Hornet and Super Hornet share many of the same characteristics, including avionics, ejection seats, radar, armament, mission computer software, and maintenance/operating procedures. The Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft at about 20% larger, 7,000 lb heavier empty weight, and 15,000 lb heavier maximum weight than the original F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33% more internal fuel, increasing the mission range by 41% and endurance by 50% over the "Legacy" Hornet. The empty weight of the Super Hornet is about 11,000 lb less than that of the F-14 Tomcat which it replaced, while approaching, but not matching, the F-14's payload and range.

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.