The Most Incredible Aircraft of All Time: F/A-18 Hornet

   The F/A in F/A-18 stands for Fighter and Attack this alone shows that the Hornet is no typical airplane.  It was designed and built as a multirole fighter meaning it could take off Shoot down and aircraft bomb a target and return to base all in one mission in needed. 

The F-18 demonstrated some unique and ground breaking features.  The first being the LEX or leading edge extensions.  These allow the aircraft to stay in control while the aircraft is flying slow and at high nose up angles.  The F-18 was designed to replace many if not all of the US Navys fighters and other specialty aircraft.  THe F-18 was made with extremely bulky and tough landing gear so it could withstand the intense impact of landing on a carrier, which is what some call ” a controlled crash” more than a landing. 

   The Hornet was superseded in 1999 by the Super Hornet.  This aircraft was an improved version of the Hornet in the sence that it was larger and capable of carrying larger payloads.  It was also equipped with more up to date computers and weapon systems.  It can carry up to four additional fuel tanks for longer missions and can be made into tanker aircraft to refuel planes in mid-flight.

The Hornet will continue to lead the US navy in airpower for years and years to come. 


General characteristics

  • Crew: F/A-18E: 1, F/A-18F: 2
  • Length: 60 ft 1¼ in (18.31 m)
  • Wingspan: 44 ft 8½ in (13.62 m)
  • Height: 16 ft (4.88 m)
  • Wing area: 500 ft² (46.45 m²)
  • Empty weight: 30,600 lb (13,900 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 47,000 lb (21,320 kg) (in fighter configuration)
  • Max takeoff weight: 66,000 lb (29,900 kg)
  • Powerplant:General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 14,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each
  • Internal fuel capacity: F/A-18E: 14,400 lb (6,530 kg), F/A-18F: 13,550 lb (6,145 kg)
  • External fuel capacity: 5 × 480 gal tanks, totaling 16,380 lb (7,430 kg)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.8+ (1,190 mph, 1,900 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m)
  • Range: 1,275 nmi (2,346 km) clean plus two AIM-9s
  • Combat radius: 390 nmi (449 mi, 722 km) for interdiction mission
  • Ferry range: 1,800 nmi (2,070 mi, 3,330 km)
  • Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,000+ m)
  • Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft² (459 kg/m²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.93
  • Design load factor: 7.6 g

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