Widely known for its versatility, this fighter aircraft has gone through a lot in proving its place in the United States Military. With that, here’s the list of the top 7 facts about the F-18 Hornet.
The McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet traces its direct ancestry to the Northrop Cobra. According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, this aircraft is a twin-engine multimission fighter design developed for the export market in the late 1960s. This aircraft was under development as early as 1975 when the Navy asked McDonell Douglas and Northrop to create a new fighter plane from the design and components of the Cobra.
2. INTRODUCTION TO SERVICE
On March 1, 1977, Secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor announced that the F-18 would be named “Hornet.” According to YouTuber Hub 1506, on the 18th of November in 1978, the F-18 Hornet took its first flight. Five years later, the United States Marine Corps introduced the Hornet into active duty, while the U.S. Navy did the same the following year. And since then, the McDonell Douglas F-18 Hornet has served its purpose, an all-weather multirole combat jet.
3. COMBAT HISTORY
Unlike the new generation fighter jets, the world witnessed the F-18 Hornet in real combat. According to PilotPhotog, while its first combat was March 24, 1986, its most notable battle happened five years later. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, while performing an air-to-ground mission, Hornets switched to fighter mode and destroyed two Iraqi MiG-21s in air-to-air combat, then switched back to attack mode, completing their air-to-ground mission. This mission proved the Hornet’s ability to go from the ground attack role to the dogfight role in just a flick of a switch.
There have been two notable accidents involving this combat aircraft. The first one happened on December 8, 2008, where a two-seated F-18 variant crashed in a residential area in San Diego, California. This crash resulted in the death of civilians while the pilot safely ejected from the plane. Four years after, on April 6, 2012, another incident occurred when the same F-18 variant crashed into an apartment building in Virginia. Fortunately, the two pilots and five civilians who got caught up in the crash managed to survive. Reports say that the cause for this crash was a dual-engine failure.
5. SUPER HORNET
The two most notable variants of the F-18 are the Hornet and Super Hornet. They are both twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter aircraft. But the difference between both fighter jets comes in their size and other features. According to fighterjetsworld.com, the Super Hornet is primarily a new aircraft at about 20% larger, 7,000 lbs heavier empty weight, and 15,000 lbs heavier maximum weight than the Hornet. Its heavier weight requires the Navy to adjust the aircraft carrier’s catapult and arresting systems whenever the Super Hornet takes flight.
Next on our list is the general characteristics of the plane. According to military.com, starting with its build, this 45 million USD aircraft stands tall at the height of 4.7 meters with a wingspan of 12.3 meters and is 17.1 meters long. On the matter of pilot experience, the F-18 Hornet was one of the pioneer aircraft to rely heavily upon its multifunction displays; As this is what the pilots use when switching from fighter to attack mode and vice versa. It also helps the pilots in deploying their rockets, missiles, and bombs.
7. WORLDWIDE OPERATORS
The introduction of new variants has made the F-18 stay relevant, and this was evident with the number of operators this fighter aircraft has around the world. According to their website, there are seven international operators of the F-18 Hornet. And in 2011, Boeing (former McDonell Douglas) completed Australia’s 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets order.
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