Today we are not introducing one but two of the aircraft which have nearly the same designation as well as the specifications. The names of these aircraft are Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet and Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. Both of these aircraft come in twin-engine design and are the multirole fighter jets which have been based on the design of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The thing that makes these aircraft different is the seating feature. The F/A18E is the single-seat version while the F/A-18f is the one with tandem seat design. These two aircraft are the advanced variants if their predecessor aircraft; F/A-18C and F/A-18D hornet.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has the internal M61 rotary cannon of 20 mm that is able to carry out the combat missions of air-to-air an air-to-surface scenarios. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has the ability to carry in nearly 5 external fuel tanks along with the ability to get fuel by aerial refueling from the airborne fuel tankers.
The aircraft was first designed by the McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, back in the 190s and flew of the very first time in 1995. The full-rate production line for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet started back in 1997 right after Boeing merged the McDonnell Douglas.
The aircraft was built to serve the US Navy for replacing their aging fleet of Grumman F-14Tomcat back in 2001. Even today, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet serves alongside the originally built Hornet. Another Air Force that used the original Hornet was the Australian Royal Air Force ordered for a fleet of F/A-18F back in 2007 which was to replace their aging fleet of the F-111C. The fleet of the Super Hornets entered the service of RAAF back in December of 2010.
For our readers, we bring to you a few amazing facts about the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet which are as follows.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet entered the service of US navy back in 2001 and the first actual combat deployment for this aircraft was for the Persian Gulf back in 2002, slightly earlier than the Iraq Invasion. This aircraft was the one that enforced the no-fly zone during the Iraq Invasion.
The aircraft proved to be a great asset for Navy due to its cheap maintenance as compared to the F-14 Tomcat. The aircraft not only became essential for the US navy but for the United States Marine Corps as well.
The thing that made the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet different from the originally designed F/A-18 Hornets is the ability of the aircraft to assume the roles given to it by the US Navy in order to tackle an air or surface threats with optimum capability.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet went on to be the backbone of the US navy for performing its following mission roles.
- Forward air control
- Tactical air control
As for the predecessor of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the original Hornet, it is being used currently as the training aircraft while the F/A-18D is being used as the attack aircraft in Navy and USMC. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has been regarded as a perfect in-between aircraft of the 4th generation advanced multirole stealth fighter such as the F-35C Lightning II. Until the Navy receives their order of the F-35Cs, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet will be their primary attack aircraft.
Crucial for the Naval Force
The one other major difference that sets the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet apart from its predecessors is the aircraft being much heavier, larger and longer. Due to these features, the naval carriers have to account for this major difference as compared to the lighter version of Hornet.
Another major difference of the Super Hornets compared to simple Hornets is that they come with additional equipment such as the tactical refueling system during mid-flight. This allows for the Super Hornets to pass on fuel to the fellow Super Hornet which in turn increases their flight duration. Super Hornets have also been upgraded to have increased internal fuel capacity which allows for them to have longer mission range.
The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet differs only a little bit from the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet. The difference between these two is of seating design. The F variant is the twin-seat aircraft while the E variant is the single-seat aircraft. Sill, both of these variants are able to perform deep bomb deployments in the battle zone.
Prior to the US navy getting hold of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program, the US Marin Corps was given the chance but the USMC decided to purchase the older F/A-18Cs to practice until they got their order of the F-25B Lightning IIs. Currently, USMC deploys their fleet of the F/A-18Cs from the support of the naval carriers. Due to their names being slightly different US Navy and USMC came up with a solution to distinguish Super Hornets from Hornets. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has been nicknamed as Rhino.
One Super Hornet was specially designed and engineered to serve for the electronic warfare needs of the US Navy that was using the EA-6B Prowler. The name of this specially designed aircraft is EA-18G which has been equipped with jamming modules for electronic warfare. These jamming pods work by attacking the electronics and communications of the enemy forces.
This EA-18G is being used by the US navy for not only their naval mission but also for the support of ground forces in the same war theater.
A single Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is powered by twin General Electric F414-GE-400 Turbofan engines. Each of these engines is able to generate a dry thrust of 13000 pounds and an afterburner thrust of 22000 pounds. This much power allows the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to fly at a top speed of little over Mach 1.8 at an altitude of 50000 feet.
The combat range for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is about 1275 miles but with its ability to have external fuel tanks as well as having the ability to perform in-flight refueling, it can be increased multiple times.