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F/A-18 Hornet

Boeing [McDonnell Douglas Aerospace] and
Northrop Grumman (Airframe),
General Electric (Engines), and
Hughes (Radar)
Super Hornet
Power Plant Two F404-GE-402 afterburning engines, each in the 18,000 pound thrust class, which results in a combat thrust-to-weight ratio greater than 1-to-1. Depending on the mission and loading, combat radius is greater than 500 nautical miles. Twin F414-GE-400 engines, each in the 22,000 pound thrust class. On an interdiction mission, the E/F will fly up to 40 % further than the C/D.
  • The F/A-18C and F/A-18E are single seat aircraft.
  • The D and F models are flown by two crew members.
  • The aft seat in the D and F may be configured with a stick and throttle for the training environment (or without when crewed with a Weapons System Officer).
  • Performance
  • F/A-18C maximum speed at level flight in altitudes of 36,089 ft.
    Mach 1.7
  • F/A-18E maximum speed at level flight in altitudes of 36,089 ft.
    Mach 1.6
  • Armament
  • F/A-18C/D can carry up to 13,700 pounds of external ordnance.
  • Weapon stations include: two wingtip stations for Sidewinders; two outboard wing stations for air-to-air or air-to-ground weapons; two inboard wing stations for fuel tanks, air-to-air, or air-to-ground weapons; two nacelle fuselage stations for AMRAAMs, Sparrows, or sensor pods; and one centerline station for fuel or air-to-ground weapons.
  • M61 Vulcan 6-barrel rotary cannon with 520 rounds of 20mm ammunition is internally mounted in the nose

    AIM-9 Sidewinder
    AIM-7F Sparrow
    AIM-120 AMRAAM
    AGM-65E Maverick
    AGM-84 Harpoon
    AGM-88A HARM
    10 CBU-87
    10 CBU-89
    B-57 or B-61 Nuclear bomb

  • F/A-18E/F can carry up to 17,750 pounds of external ordnance; two additional wing store stations have been added.

  • Mission and Capabilities
  • The F/A-18 Hornet can perform both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.
  • Cockpit displays and mission avionics are thoroughly integrated to enhance crew situational awareness and mission capability in high threat, adverse weather/night environments.
  • Cockpits are night vision goggle compatible.
  • Multi-Sensor Integration and advanced data link capabilities further enhance situational awareness.
  • The E/F model will be able to perform a strike tanker mission while carrying a self-protection air-to-air missile loadout.
  • The E/F model will also have greater payload flexibility, increased mission radius, survivability, payload bring back, and a substantial avionics growth potential.
  • Unit cost $FY98
    [Total Program]
    $39.5 million. $60 million
    Program Summary

    F/A-18A/B first entered operational service with the USN and USMC in 1982.

    Since 1982, more than 1,458 F/A-18s have been procured for the USN and USMC and for the armed services in Canada, Australia, Spain, Kuwait, Switzerland, Finland, and Malaysia.

    In 1987, the upgraded C/D model (with enhanced mission avionics) was introduced and upgraded with a night/adverse weather mission capability, On Board Oxygen Generating System, APG-73 Radar Upgrade, enhanced performance F404-GE-402 engines, and upgraded mission computers.

    The first flight of the F/A-18E/F occurred in December 1995; received its "safe for flight" certification in June 2001.

    External Dimensions



    Wing span 11.43 m
    Wing span over missiles 12.31 m
    Wing chord (at root) 4.04 m
    Wing chord (at tip) 1.68 m
    Wing aspect ratio 3.52
    Width, wings folded 8.38 m
    Length overall 17.07 m
    Height overall 4.66 m
    Tailplane span 6.58 m
    Distance between fin tips 3.60 m
    Wheel track 3.11 m
    Wheelbase 5.42 m
    Wing span over missiles 13.62 meters
    Wing aspect ratio 4.00
    Width wings folded 9.32 m
    Length overall 18.31 m
    Height overall 4.88 m




    Wings, gross 37.16 m2
    Ailerons (total) 2.27 m2
    Leading-edge flaps (total) 4.50 m2
    Trailing-edge flaps (total) 5.75 m2
    Fins (total) 9.68 m2
    Rudders (total) 1.45 m2
    Tailerons (total) 8.18 m2
    Wings, gross 46.45 sq. meters

    Weights and Loadings



    Weight empty 10,810 kg
    Maximum fuel weight:

    Internal (JP5)

    4,926 kg

    External: F/A-18 (JP5)

    3,053 kg

    CF-18 (JP4)

    4,245 kg
    Maximum external stores load 7,031 kg
    Take off weight:

    Fighter mission

    16,651 kg

    Attack mission

    Approx 23,541 kg


    Approx 25,401 kg
    Maximum wing loading (attack mission) 156,80 kg/kN
    Weight, empty
    Design target 13.387 kg
    Specification limit 13.865 kg
    Maximum fuel weight:


    6.531 kg

    External (JP5)

    4.436 kg

    Maximum external stores load (JP5)

    8.051 kg
    T-O weight, attack mission 29.937 kg
    Maximum wing loading 620.0 kg/m2
    Maximum power loading 147.1 kg /kN

    Performance (At Maximum Takeoff Weight)



    Max level speed More than Mach 1.8
    Max speed, intermediate power More than Mach 1.0
    Approach speed 134 knots
    Acceleration from 460 knots to 920 knots at 10,670 m under 2 min
    Combat ceiling approx 15,240 m
    T-O run Less than 427 m
    Minimum wind over deck:


    35 knots


    19 knots
    Combat radius, interdiction, hi-lo-lo-hi 290 nm
    Combat endurance, CAP 150 nm from aircraft carrier 1 h 45 min
    Ferry range, unrefueled More than 1,800 nm
    Maximum level speed at altitude more than Mach 1.8
    Combat ceiling 13,865 m
    Minimum wind over deck:
    30 knots
    15 knots
    Combat radius specification:

    Interdiction with four 1,000 lb bombs, two Sidewinders,
    and two 1,818 liter (480 U.S. gallon: 400 Imp gallon) external tanks,
    navigation FLIR and targeting FLIR: Forward Looking Infra-Red

    390 nm

    Fighter escort with two Sidewinders and two AMRAAMs

    410 nm
    Combat endurance: maritime air superiority, six AAMs,
    three 1,818 liter external tanks, 150 nm from aircraft carrier.
    2h 15 min

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    Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:30:40 ZULU