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Type Multirole fighter
Manufacturer McDonnell Douglas

Boeing Northrop

Introduction 1983
Status Active: 91
Mumber built 1,458
Cost $35 million

The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a modern all-weather carrier-capable strike fighter jet, designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Designed in the 1970s for service with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, the Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations. It has been the aerial demonstration aircraft for the Blue Angels since 1986. Its primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), interdiction, close air support and reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its contemporaries.[1] The Hornet has also been exported to several nations worldwide.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a distinct, evolutionary upgrade to the F/A-18 designed to serve a complementary role with Hornets in the U.S. Navy.


Though Navy aircraft have not historically sold well on the export market, the F/A-18 has been purchased and is in operation with a number of foreign air services. Export Hornets are typically similar to U.S. models of a similar manufacture date. Since none of the customers operate aircraft carriers, all export models have been sold without the automatic carrier landing system, and Australia further removed the catapult attachment on the nose gear. Except for Canada, all export customers purchased their Hornets through the U.S. Navy, via the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program, where the Navy acts as the purchasing manager but incurs no financial gain or loss. Canada ordered its planes directly from the manufacturer.


  • General characteristics
    • Crew: 1
    • Length: 56 ft (17.1 m)
    • Wingspan: 40 ft (12.3 m)
    • Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.7 m)
    • Wing area: 400 ft² (38 m²)
    • Airfoil: NACA 65A005 mod root, 65A003.5 mod tip
    • Empty weight: 24,700 lb (11,200 kg)
    • Loaded weight: 37,150 lb (16,850 kg)
    • Max takeoff weight: 51,550 lb (23,400 kg)
    • Powerplant: 2× General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 11,000 lbf (48.9 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 17,750 lbf (79.2 kN) each
  • Performance
    • Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 (1,190 mph, 1,915 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
    • Combat radius: 330 mi (290 NM, 537 km) on hi-lo-lo-hi mission
    • Ferry range: 2,070 mi (1,800 NM, 3,330 km) (range without ordnance)
    • Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,000 m)
    • Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (254 m/s)
    • Wing loading: 93 lb/ft² (450 kg/m²)
    • Thrust/weight: >0.95


  • Guns: 1x 20 mm M61 Vulcan internal gatling gun with 578 rounds
  • Hardpoints: 9: 2 wingtip, 4 underwing, and 3 fuselage, carrying up to 13,700 lb (6,215 kg) of missiles, rockets, bombs, fuel tanks, and pods
  • Missiles:
    • Air-to-air: AIM-9 Sidewinder, AIM-132 ASRAAM, AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-7 Sparrow, IRIS-T
    • Air-to-ground: AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-88 HARM, SLAM-ER, JSOW, Taurus missile
    • Ani-ship: AGM-84 Harpoon
  • Bombs: CBU-87 cluster, CBU-89 gator mine, CBU-97 CEM, Paveway, JDAM, Mk 80 series, nuclear bombs,[24] Mk 20 Rockeye II cluster, mines


  • APG-73 radar
  • LITENING targeting pod (USMC only)