McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A HORNET

From: Terry W. Colvin (
Date: Mon Jul 31 2000 - 19:08:58 MDT

Low-cost solution

After its YF-17 had lost to the General Dynamics YF-16 in the U.S. Air Force's
Light-Weight Fighter competition, Northrop teamed with McDonnel Douglas to
produce a considerably revised machine designed to meet an ambitious naval
requirement. This envisaged a single type to replace the McDonnell Douglas
F-4 and Vought A-7 in the multi-role fighter and attack roles respectively.

Changed production leadership

The first example flew in November 1978 and was considerably different from
the YF-17 in size, configuration and, most importantly of all, the very
advanced electronics providing capability in the two apparently conflicting
roles merely by software alterations. With McDonnell Douglas as prime
contractor, deliveries began in 1980 for service from 1983 after a
protracted development phase. Deliveries for the U.S. Navy and U.S.
Marine Corps totalled 410 including two-seaters.

Principal versions

F/A-18A (initial dual-role fighter), F/A-18B (two seat conversion and
continuation trainer retaining full combat capability), AF-18A and ATF-18A
(75 land based single and two-seat models for Australia), CF-18A and CF-18B
(138 land based single- and two-seat models for Canada), and EF-18A and
EF-18B (75 land based single- and two-seat models for Spain).

Principal users

Australia, Canada, Spain, and USA.

Technical data
Type: McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet single-seat carrierborne and land
based fighter and attack warplane.
Engines: two 16,000-lb (7,257-kg) reheated thrust General Electric
F404-GE-400 turbofans.
Performance: maximum speed 1,188+ mph (1,912+ km/h) or Mach 1.8+ at 40,000 ft
(12,190 m); initial climb rate 45,000 ft (13,715 m) per minute; service
ceiling 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m) per minute; radius 662 miles (1,965 km) on a
typical attack mission.
Weights: empty 23,050 lb (10,455 kg); maximum take-off 49,224 lb (22,328 kg).
Dimensions: span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m); length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); height
15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); wing area 400.0 sq ft (37.16 m^2).
Armament: one 20-mm multi-barrel cannon and up to 17,000 lb (7,711 kg) of
disposable stores.

Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA)
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