Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornets Vol. I

The F/A-18 Hornet is a single- and two-seat, twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases.

The F/A-18 fills a variety of roles: air superiority, fighter escort, suppression of enemy air defenses, reconnaissance, forward air control, close and deep air support, and day and night strike missions. The F/A-18 Hornet replaced the F-4 Phantom II fighter and A-7 Corsair II light attack jet, and also replaced the A-6 Intruder as these aircraft were retired during the 1990s.
The F/A-18 has a digital control-by-wire flight control system which provides excellent handling qualities, and allows pilots to learn to fly the airplane with relative ease. At the same time, this system provides exceptional maneuverability and allows the pilot to concentrate on operating the weapons system. A solid thrust-to-weight ratio and superior turn characteristics combined with energy sustainability, enable the F/A-18 to hold its own against any adversary. The power to maintain evasive action is what many pilots consider the Hornet’s finest trait. In addition, the F/A-18 was also the Navy’s first tactical jet aircraft to incorporate a digital, MUX bus architecture for the entire system’s avionics suite. The benefit of this design feature is that the F/A-18 has been relatively easy to upgrade on a regular, affordable basis.
The F/A-18 has proven to be an ideal component of the carrier based tactical aviation equation over its 15 years of operational experience. The only F/A-18 characteristic found to be marginally adequate by battle group commanders, outside experts, and even the men who fly the Hornet, is its range when flown on certain strike mission profiles. However, the inadequacy is managed well with organic and joint tanking assets.

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Development & Description F/A-18A Hornet

The F/A-18 Hornet was - and still is in its new variants - a revolutionary aircraft in the use of the most advanced technologies.
Born out of the YA-17, Northrop’s losing entrant to the USAF’s Light Weight Fighter (LWF) competition, the Hornet was bested by the compact General Dynamics YF-16 and left seemengly without any future. But a parterniship with McDonnell Douglas which had extensive designing carrier-borne fighters, saved it form being consigned to history.. Together Mcair as the aerospace giant was called and Northrop redesigned the YF-17 so well that it would go on to become the US Navy’s next multirole fighter. At the time of writing (2020), the F/A-18 had been produced in seven major variants, including the EA-18G Growler, was andi s operated by both domestic US and International customers and has been in operacional service for 34 years. It is also noteworthy for being the first aircraft to have carbon fibre wings, and for being the first tactical jet fighter to use digital fly-by-wire flight controls.

 

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The Navy Air Combat Fighter Programme
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was designed for aircraft carrier duty and was the first tactical aircraft designed to carry out both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. The U.S. Marines ordered it as an F-18 fighter and the Navy as an A-18 attack aircraft. It can switch roles easily and can also be adapted for photoreconnaissance and electronic countermeasure missions.
The F/A-18 Hornet was also the first aircraft to have carbon fibre wings and the first tactical jet fighter to use digital fly-by-wire flight controls. Variants included a two-seater, an improved fighter, a reconnaissance aircraft and a night-attack fighter.
Hornets entered active duty in January 1983. In 1986, Hornets on the USS Coral Sea flew their first combat missions. 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 and successfully completed their air-to-ground mission. During 2001, Hornets provided around-the-clock battlefield coverage in the Afghanistan Theater of operations..

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Fuselage And Wings
The cabin, pressurized and equipped with heating and air conditioning, accommodates a pilot (two in the two-seater) in a Martin Baker SJU-5/A (SJU-9/A in the Spanish) jection seat with “zero-zero” characteristics . The airplane access ladder folds completely on the bottom surface of the left LERX, folding / unfolding manually from the outside. The dome, in the form of a bubble, allows a 360º view, while it is hinged at the back for its electromechanical opening/closing. The windshield has a system for removing ice and rainwater.