Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
|F/A-18E/F Super Hornet|
|A U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet conducts a mission over the Persian Gulf|
|Role||Carrier-based multirole fighter|
|National origin||United States|
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
|First flight||29 November 1995|
|Status||In service, in production|
|Primary users||United States Navy
Royal Australian Air Force
|Number built||500 as of April 2011|
|Program cost||Total procurement: US$48.09 billion (through FY2011)|
|Unit cost||US$66.9 million (2012 flyaway cost)[N 1]|
|Developed from||McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet|
|Variants||Boeing EA-18G Growler|
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft variant based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. Additional fuel can be carried in up to five external fuel tanks and the aircraft can be configured as an airborne tanker by adding an external air refueling system.
Designed and initially produced by McDonnell Douglas, the Super Hornet first flew in 1995. Full-rate production began in September 1997, after the merger of McDonnell Douglas and Boeing the previous month. The Super Hornet entered service with the United States Navy in 1999, replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was retired in 2006, and serves alongside the original Hornet. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which has operated the F/A-18A as its main fighter since 1984, ordered the F/A-18F in 2007 to replace its aging F-111 fleet. RAAF Super Hornets entered service in December 2010.
The Super Hornet traced its history back to the earlier 1980s, when an early version was marketed by McDonnell Douglas as Hornet 2000. The Hornet 2000 concept was an advanced version of the F/A-18 with a larger wing and a longer fuselage to carry more fuel and more powerful engines. The study for the Hornet 2000 was officially announced by McDonnell Douglas on 11 January 1988.
At the same time, U.S. Naval Aviation faced a number of problems. The McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II program, intended to replace the obsolete Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II, had run into serious problems and was canceled. During this time, the end of the Cold War resulted in military restructuring and budget cuts. With no clean-sheet program in the works, the Navy considered updating an existing design a more attractive approach. As an alternative to the A-12, McDonnell Douglas proposed the "Super Hornet" (initially "Hornet II" in the 1980s) to improve early F/A-18 models, and serve as an alternate replacement for the A-6 Intruder. At the same time, the Navy needed a fleet defense fighter to replace the canceled Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF), which was a proposed navalized variant of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.
Testing and production 
The Super Hornet was first ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1992. The Navy would also direct that this fighter replace the aging F-14 Tomcat, essentially basing all naval combat jets on Hornet variants until the introduction of the F-35C Lightning II. The Navy retained the F/A-18 designation to help sell the program to Congress as a low-risk "derivative", though the Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft. The Hornet and Super Hornet share many design and flight characteristics, including avionics, ejection seats, radar, armament, mission computer software, and maintenance/operating procedures. In particular the initial F/A-18E/F retained most of the avionics systems from the F/A-18C/D's configuration at the time.
The Super Hornet first flew on 29 November 1995. Initial production on the F/A-18E/F began in 1995. Flight testing started in 1996 with the F/A-18E/F's first carrier landing in 1997. Low-rate production began in March 1997 with full production beginning in September 1997. Testing continued through 1999, finishing with sea trials and aerial refueling demonstrations. Testing involved 3,100 test flights covering 4,600 flight hours. The Super Hornet underwent U.S. Navy operational tests and evaluations in 1999, and was approved in February 2000.
The Navy considers acquisition of the Super Hornet a success with it meeting cost, schedule, and weight (400 lb, 181 kg below) requirements. Despite having the same general layout and systems, the Super Hornet differs in many ways from the original F/A-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet is informally referred to as the "Rhino" to distinguish it from earlier model "legacy" Hornets and to prevent confusion in radio calls. This aids safe flight operations, since the catapult and arresting systems must be set differently for the heavier Super Hornet. (The "Rhino" nickname was earlier used by the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which was retired from the fleet in 1987.)
The U.S. Navy currently flies both the F/A-18E single-seater and F/A-18F two-seater in combat roles, taking the place of the retired F-14, A-6 Intruder, Lockheed S-3 Viking, and KA-6D. An electronic warfare variant, the EA-18G Growler, will replace the aging EA-6B Prowler. The Navy calls this reduction in aircraft types a "neck-down". In the Vietnam War era, the Super Hornet's capabilities were covered by no less than the A-1/A-4/A-7 (light attack), A-6 (medium attack), F-8/F-4 (fighter), RA-5C (recon), KA-3/KA-6 (tanker) and EA-6 (electronic warfare). It is anticipated that $1 billion in fleet wide annual savings will result from replacing other types with the Super Hornet.
In 2003, the Navy identified a flaw in the Super Hornet's under wing pylons, which could reduce the aircraft's service life unless repaired. The problem has been corrected on new airframes and existing aircraft have begun to be repaired starting in 2009.
Improvements and changes 
After initial fleet integration began, Boeing upgraded to the Block II version of the aircraft, incorporating an improved Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, changing to larger displays, integrating joint helmet mounted cuing system, and replacing many aircraft avionics. The Block II configuration has the avionics and weapons systems that were being developed for the proposed production JSF version of the Boeing X-32. As part of the Block II configuration, new-build aircraft received the APG-79 AESA radar beginning in 2005; earlier production aircraft will have their APG-73 replaced with the APG-79. In January 2008, 135 earlier production aircraft were to receive the AESA radar via retrofits.
In early 2008, Boeing discussed the development of a Super Hornet Block III with the U.S. and Australian military, featuring additional stealth capabilities and extended range; a long-term successor is to be developed under the Next Generation Air Dominance program. Development of an improved F414 engine with better resistance to foreign object damage, and a reduced fuel burn rate began in 2009. Work is also being done on possible performance improvements to increase thrust by 20%.
Boeing is studying a centerline pod, which will have four internal stations for two AIM-120 AMRAAMs and two 500 lb Joint Direct Attack Munitions in a similar fashion to the Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle's Conformal Weapons Bays, but with less stealth. Other improvements include a chin mounted IRST and all aspect missile and laser warning, in the same fashion as the F-35. A next-generation cockpit is also under development which has a very large 19 in x 11 in touch-sensitive display.
Boeing has offered India and other international customers the Super Hornet "International Roadmap", which includes conformal fuel tanks, enhanced engines, an enclosed weapons pod (EWP), a next-generation cockpit, a new missile warning system, and an internal infra-red search and track (IRST) system. Three EWPs could be carried, one belly mounted and one under each wing, for a total combat load of up to 12 AMRAAMs and 2 Sidewinders. By holding the weapons in the streamlined pods the aircraft can reach higher speeds and altitudes, which can increase the standoff ranges of the weapons.
In the future, air-to-air target detection using Infrared Search and Track (IRST) in the form of a passive, long range sensor that detects long wave IR emissions will be an option with a unique solution. This new device will be a sensor built into the front of a centerline external fuel tank. Operational capability of this device is expected in 2013. On 18 May 2009, Lockheed Martin announced it had been selected by Boeing to conduct the technology development phase of this sensor. Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to develop the IRST on 22 November 2011. Boeing was issued a contract to develop a new mission computer in November 2011.
Northrop Grumman and Boeing are self-funding a prototype of the Advanced Super Hornet with a lower RCS.
The Super Hornet is largely a new aircraft. It is about 20 percent larger, 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) heavier at empty weight, and 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) heavier at maximum weight than the original Hornet. The Super Hornet carries 33 percent more internal fuel, increasing mission range by 41 percent and endurance by 50 percent over the "Legacy" Hornet. The empty weight of the Super Hornet is about 11,000 lb (5,000 kg) less than that of the F-14 Tomcat which it replaced, while approaching, but not matching, the F-14's payload and range.[N 2]
The Super Hornet, unlike the previous Hornet, is designed so it can be equipped with an aerial refueling system (ARS) or "buddy store" for the refueling of other aircraft, filling the tactical airborne tanker role the Navy had lost with the retirement of the KA-6D and Lockheed S-3B Viking tankers. The ARS includes an external 330 US gallons (1,200 L) tank with hose reel on the centerline along with four external 480 US gallons (1,800 L) tanks and internal tanks for a total of 29,000 pounds (13,000 kg) of fuel on the aircraft.
Airframe changes 
The forward fuselage is unchanged, but the remainder of the aircraft shares little with earlier F/A-18C/D models. The fuselage was stretched by 34 inches (860 mm) to make room for fuel and future avionics upgrades and increased the wing area by 25%. However, the Super Hornet has 42% fewer structural parts than the original Hornet design. The General Electric F414 engine, developed from the Hornet's F404, has 35% additional thrust over most of the aircraft's flight envelope. The Super Hornet can return to an aircraft carrier with a larger load of unspent fuel and munitions than the original Hornet. The term for this ability is known as "bringback". Bringback for the Super Hornet is in excess of 9,000 pounds (4,100 kg).
Other differences include approximately rectangular intakes for the engines and two extra wing hard points for payload (for a total of 11). Among the most significant aerodynamic changes are the enlarged leading edge extensions (LEX) which provide improved vortex lifting characteristics in high angle of attack maneuvers, and reduce the static stability margin to enhance pitching characteristics. This results in pitch rates in excess of 40 degrees per second, and high resistance to departure from controlled flight.
Radar signature reduction measures 
Survivability is an important feature of the Super Hornet design. The U.S. Navy took a "balanced approach" to survivability in its design. This means that it does not rely on low-observable technology, such as stealth systems, to the exclusion of other survivability factors. Instead, its design incorporates a combination of stealth, advanced electronic-warfare capabilities, reduced ballistic vulnerability, the use of standoff weapons, and innovative tactics that cumulatively and collectively enhance the safety of the fighter and crew.
The F/A-18E/F's radar cross-section was reduced greatly from some aspects, mainly the front and rear. The design of the engine inlets reduces the aircraft's frontal radar cross-section. The alignment of the leading edges of the engine inlets is designed to scatter radiation to the sides. Fixed fanlike reflecting structures in the inlet tunnel divert radar energy away from the rotating fan blades.
The Super Hornet also makes considerable use of panel joint serration and edge alignment. Considerable attention has been paid to the removal or filling of unnecessary surface join gaps and resonant cavities. Where the F/A-18A-D used grilles to cover various accessory exhaust and inlet ducts, the F/A-18E/F uses perforated panels that appear opaque to radar waves at the frequencies used. Careful attention has been paid to the alignment of many panel boundaries and edges, to direct reflected waves away from the aircraft in uniformly narrow angles.
It is claimed that the Super Hornet employs the most extensive radar cross section reduction measures of any contemporary fighter, other than the F-22 and F-35. While the F/A-18E/F is not a true stealth fighter like the F-22, it will have a frontal radar cross-section an order of magnitude smaller than prior generation fighters.
Additional RCS reduction measures can be installed on an as needed basis.
Initially, the Super Hornet's avionics and software had a 90% commonality with that of the F/A-18C/D fleet at the time. Differences include a touch-sensitive, up-front control display; a large liquid-crystal multipurpose color display; and a fuel display. The Super Hornet has a quadruplex digital fly-by-wire system, as well as a digital flight-control system that detects and corrects for battle damage. Initial production models used the APG-73 radar, later replaced by the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA). The AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking InfraRed), is the main electro-optical sensor and laser designator pod for the Super Hornet. The communications equipment consist of an AN/ARC-210 VHF/UHF radio and a MIDS low volume terminal for HAVE QUICK, SINCGARS and Link 16 connectivity.
The defensive countermeasures of Block I aircraft includes the AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver, the AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispenser, the AN/ALE-50 towed decoy and the AN/ALQ-165 Airborne Self-Protect Jammer (ASPJ). Newer Block II aircraft replace the ALQ-165 with the AN/ALQ-214 Integrated Defensive Countermeasures (IDECM) system which consists of internally mounted threat receivers and optional self-protection jammers. The interior and exterior lighting on the Block II has also been changed to allow the air crew to use night vision goggles (NVG). The older ALE-50 decoys are being replaced by ALE-55 towed decoys, which can transmit jamming signals based on data received from the IDECM. The improved AN/ALQ-214 jammer was added on Super Hornet Block II.
The Super Hornet Block II configuration includes the new APG-79 AESA radar; it enables its crew to execute simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks. The APG-79 also provides higher quality high-resolution ground mapping at long standoff ranges. The AESA radar can also detect smaller targets, such as inbound missiles and can track air targets beyond the range of the Super Hornet's own air to air missiles. VFA-213 became "safe for flight" (independently fly and maintain the F/A-18F) on 27 October 2006 and is the first Super Hornet squadron to fly AESA-equipped Super Hornets.
The first Super Hornet upgraded with an aft cockpit Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) was delivered to VFA-213 on 18 May 2007. The JHMCS provides multi-purpose aircrew situational awareness including high-off-bore-sight cuing of the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. The Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP) is a high-resolution, digital tactical air reconnaissance system that features advanced day/night and all-weather capability. The Multifunctional Information Distribution System low volume communication terminal is being upgraded with the MIDS-JTRS system, which will allow a tenfold increase in bandwidth as well as compatibility with the Joint Tactical Radio System standards. Initial operational capability is planned for January 2011.
Operational history 
The Super Hornet achieved initial operating capability (IOC) in September 2001 with the U.S. Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115) at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. VFA-115 was also the first unit to take their F/A-18 Super Hornets into combat. On 6 November 2002, two F/A-18Es conducted a "Response Option" strike in support of Operation Southern Watch on two surface-to-air missile launchers at Al Kut, Iraq and an air defense command and control bunker at Tallil air base. One of the pilots, Lieutenant John Turner, dropped 2,000 pounds (910 kg) JDAM bombs from the Super Hornet for the first time during combat.
In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq War), VFA-14, VFA-41 and VFA-115 flew close air support, strike, escort, SEAD and aerial refueling sorties. Two F/A-18Es from VFA-14 and two F/A-18Fs from VFA-41 were forward deployed to the USS Abraham Lincoln. The VFA-14 aircraft flew mostly as aerial refuelers and the VFA-41 fighters as Forward Air Controller (Airborne) or FAC(A)s. On 6 April 2005, VFA-154 and VFA-147 (the latter squadron then still operating F/A-18Cs) dropped two 500-pound (230 kg) laser-guided bombs on an enemy insurgent location east of Baghdad.
On 8 September 2006, VFA-211 F/A-18F Super Hornets expended GBU-12 and GBU-38 bombs against Taliban fighters and Taliban fortifications west and northwest of Kandahar. This was the first time the unit was in combat with the Super Hornet.
During the 2006–2007 cruise with USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, VFA-103 and VFA-143 supported Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and operations off the Somali coast. Alongside "Legacy Hornet" squadrons, VFA-131 and VFA-83, they dropped 140 precision guided weapons and performed nearly 70 strafing runs.
In 2007, Boeing proposed additional F/A-18E/Fs to the U.S. Navy in a multi-year contract. In 2008, it was reported that the Navy was considering buying additional F/A-18 Super Hornets to bridge a "strike-fighter" gap. As of October 2008, Boeing had delivered 367 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy.
On 6 April 2009, Defense Secretary Gates announced that the Department of Defense intends to acquire further 31 F/A-18s in FY2010. Congressional action has requested that the DoD study a further multi-year contract in order to avoid a projected strike fighter shortfall. The FY2010 budget bill authorizes, but does not require, a multiyear purchase agreement for additional Super Hornets.
On 14 May 2010, it was reported that Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense reached an agreement for a multi-year contract for an additional 66 F/A-18E/Fs and 58 EA-18Gs over the next four years. The latest order for 124 aircraft will raise the total fleet count to 515 F/A-18E/Fs and 114 EA-18Gs. However, the Navy is already 60 fighters below its validated requirement for fighter aircraft and this purchase will not close the gap. The deal was finalized on 28 September 2010 for a multi-year contract said to save $600 million (over per year contracts) for 66 Super Hornets and 58 Growlers and to help deal with a four-year delay in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.
Royal Australian Air Force 
On 3 May 2007, the Australian Government signed a contract to acquire 24 F/A-18Fs for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), at a cost of A$2.9 billion, as an interim replacement for the aging F-111s. The total cost with training and support over 10 years is A$6 billion (US$4.6 billion). The Super Hornets were ordered to replace the F-111, which was retired in December 2010, pending the delivery of the F-35 Lightning II.
The order was controversial, with critics including some retired senior RAAF officers. Air Vice Marshal (ret.) Peter Criss, a former Air Commander Australia, said he was "absolutely astounded" that the Australian government would spend $6 billion on an interim aircraft. Criss has also cited evidence given by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that the Super Hornet Block I specific excess power is inferior to the MiG-29 and Su-30, which are already operated, or have been ordered, by air forces in South East Asia. Air Commodore (ret.) Ted Bushell stated that the F/A-18F could not perform the role that the Australian government had given it, and the F-111 airframe design would remain suitable for the strategic deterrent/strike role until at least 2020. Some critics have claimed that the decision to buy the F/A-18F merely serves to ease the sale of additional Super Hornets to Australia, should the F-35 program "encounter more problems".
A review of the purchase was announced on 31 December 2007, by the new Australian Labor government, as part of a wider review of the RAAF's combat aircraft procurement plans. The main reasons given were concerns over operational suitability, the lack of a proper review process, and internal beliefs that an interim fighter was not required. On 17 March 2008, the Government announced that it would proceed with plans to acquire all 24 F/A-18Fs. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon said that the Super Hornet was an "excellent aircraft". However, Fitzgibbon also indicated that costs and logistical factors contributed to the decision: retirement of the F-111 had occurred in haste and was "irreversible", meaning that the F/A-18F was "the only aircraft" that could "meet the small delivery window", and "cancelling the Super Hornet would bring significant financial penalties and create understandable tensions between the contract partners."
The Block II package aircraft offered to the RAAF include installed engines and six spares, APG-79 AESA radars, Link 16 connectivity, LAU-127 guided missile launchers, AN/ALE-55 fiber optic towed decoys and other equipment. The government has also sought U.S. export approval for Boeing EA-18G Growlers. On 27 February 2009, Fitzgibbon announced that 12 of the 24 Super Hornets would be wired on the production line for future modification as EA-18Gs. The additional wiring would cost A$35 million. The final decision on conversion to EA-18Gs, at a cost of A$300 million, would be made in 2012.
The first RAAF Super Hornet was completed in 2009 and first flew from Boeing's factory in St. Louis, Missouri on 21 July 2009. RAAF pilots and air combat officers began training in the USA in 2009, with No. 1 Squadron planned to become fully operational with the F/A-18F in 2010. The RAAF's first five Super Hornets arrived at their home base, RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, on 26 March 2010. These initial aircraft were joined by six more aircraft on 7 July 2010. With the arrival of another four aircraft in December 2010, the first RAAF F/A-18F squadron was declared operational on 9 December 2010.
In December 2012, the Australian government sought information from the United States government about the cost of acquiring a further 24 F/A-18Fs. These aircraft may be purchased to avoid a capability gap developing due to delays to the F-35 program. In February 2013, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Australia for up to 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and 12 EA-18G Growler aircraft with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support. In May 2013, Australia announced they would keep the 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets they currently have instead of converting them, and will order 12 new-built EA-18G Growlers. The government remains commited to the F-35 Lightning II aquisition.
Potential operators 
The United States Marine Corps has avoided the Super Hornet program and their resistance is so high that they would rather fly former Navy F/A-18Cs that have been replaced with Super Hornets. This is said to be because they fear that any Super Hornet buys will be at the cost of the F-35B STOVL fighters that they intend to operate from amphibious ships. As a concession, the Marine Corps has agreed to eventually equip five Marine fighter-attack squadrons (VMFA) with the F-35C carrier variant to continue to augment Navy carrier air wings as they currently do with the F/A-18C.
Boeing offered Malaysia the Super Hornets as part of a buy-back package for its existing F/A-18 Hornets in 2002. However, the Super Hornet procurement was halted in 2007 after the government decided to purchase the Sukhoi Su-30MKM instead. But RMAF Chief Gen. Datuk Nik Ismail Nik Mohamaed indicated that the RMAF had not planned to end procurement of the Super Hornets, instead saying that the air force needed such fighters.
Boeing delivered Super Hornet proposals to the Danish and Brazilian governments in 2008. The Super Hornet is one of three fighter aircraft in a Danish competition to replace 48 F-16s. In October 2008, it was reported that the Super Hornet was selected as one of three finalists in Brazil's fighter competition. Brazil has put forward an initial requirement for 36 aircraft, with a potential total purchase of 120 examples. In 2008, the Danish Air Force had been offered the Super Hornet; however, to date, no order has been placed.
For India's ongoing MMRCA competition, Boeing offered a customized variant called F/A-18IN, which included Raytheon's APG-79 AESA radar. In August 2008, Boeing submitted an industrial participation proposal to India describing partnerships with companies in India. The Indian Air Force (IAF) extensively evaluated the Super Hornets and conducted field trials in August 2009. However, in April 2011, the IAF rejected F/A-18IN's bid in favor of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale.
On 10 March 2009, Boeing offered the Super Hornet for Greece's Next-Generation Fighter Program.
The House version of the Fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization Bill includes language that advises the USAF to consider adopting Super Hornets in order to avoid a gap in the nation's air defenses while the JSF ramps up.
On 1 August 2010, The Sunday Times reported that the British government was considering canceling orders for the F-35 Lightning II and instead buying the Super Hornet for its Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. It is claimed that this would save the UK defence budget about £10 billion. An industry source has suggested that the Super Hornet could even be skijump launched without catapults.
The United Arab Emirates has asked for information on the Super Hornet.
Boeing complained that the "stealth characteristics" of the Super Hornet were ignored in Canada's sole source selection of the F-35.
In early 2011, Bulgaria was considering the F/A-18 Super Hornet, among other aircraft, as a replacement for its MiG-21 fleet.
In April 2012, Canada was reviewing its plans to procure the F-35 and may consider buying the Super Hornet instead.
- F/A-18E Super Hornet: single seat variant.
- F/A-18F Super Hornet: two-seat variant.
- EA-18G Growler: The electronic warfare version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet. Went into low rate production in 2007, with fleet deployment in 2009. The EA-18G will replace the U.S. Navy's EA-6B Prowler.
- United States Navy
- Pacific Fleet
- VFA-2 "Bounty Hunters" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-14 "Tophatters" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-22 "Fighting Redcocks" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-25 "Fist of the Fleet" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-27 "Royal Maces" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-41 "Black Aces" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-86 "Sidewinders" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-102 "Diamondbacks" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-115 "Eagles" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-122 "Flying Eagles" (Fleet Replacement Squadron, operates F/A-18A/A+/B/C/D/E/F)
- VFA-137 "Kestrels" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-147 "Argonauts" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-154 "Black Knights" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-195 "Dambusters" (F/A-18E)
- Atlantic Fleet
- VFA-11 "Red Rippers" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-31 "Tomcatters" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-32 "Swordsmen" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-34 "Blue Blasters" (F/A-18E) *Starting transition in Late 2012
- VFA-81 "Sunliners" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-103 "Jolly Rogers" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-105 "Gunslingers" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-106 "Gladiators" (Fleet Replacement Squadron, operates F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F)
- VFA-136 "Knighthawks" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-143 "Pukin' Dogs" (F/A-18E)
- VFA-211 "Fighting Checkmates" (F/A-18F)
- VFA-213 "Black Lions" (F/A-18F)
- Test and Evaluation Units
- VX-9 Vampires (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
- VX-23 Salty Dogs (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
- VX-31 Dust Devils (Air Test and Evaluation Squadron, operates F/A-18E/F and other aircraft)
- NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center), received F/A-18F, also operates other aircraft)
- Future F/A-18E/F squadrons
- Pacific Fleet
Each United States Navy squadron has a standard unit establishment of 12 aircraft.
Specifications (F/A-18E/F) 
- 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 (46.5 m²)
- Empty weight: 32,081 lb (14,552 kg)
- Loaded weight: 47,000 lb (21,320 kg) (in fighter configuration)
- Max. takeoff weight: 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans
- Dry thrust: 13,000 lbf (62.3 kN) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 22,000 lbf (97.9 kN) each
- Internal fuel capacity: F/A-18E: 14,400 lb (6,780 kg), F/A-18F: 13,550 lb (6,354 kg)
- External fuel capacity: 5 × 480 gal tanks, totaling 16,380 lb (7,381 kg)
- Maximum speed: Mach 1.8+ (1,370 mph, 1,915 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)
- Rate of climb: 44,882 ft/min (228 m/s)
- Wing loading: 94.0 lb/ft² (459 kg/m²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.93
- Design load factor: 7.6 g
- Guns: 1× 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan nose mounted gatling gun, 578 rounds
- Hardpoints: 11 total: 2× wingtips, 6× under-wing, and 3× under-fuselage with a capacity of 17,750 lb (8,050 kg) external fuel and ordnance
- Air-to-air missiles:
- Air-to-surface missiles:
- Anti-ship missile:
- SUU-42A/A Flares/Infrared decoys dispenser pod and chaff pod or
- Electronic countermeasures (ECM) pod or
- AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR Targeting pods or
- up to 3× 330 U.S. gallon (1,200 L) Sargent Fletcher drop tanks for ferry flight or extended range/loitering time or
- 1× 330 U.S. gal (1,200 L) tank and 4× 480 U.S. gal (1,800 L) tanks for aerial refueling system (ARS).
- Hughes APG-73 or Raytheon APG-79 Radar
- Northrop Grumman/ITT AN/ALE-165 self-protection jammer pod or BAE Systems AN/ALE-214 integrated defensive electronic countermeasures system
- Raytheon AN/ALE-50 or BAE Systems AN/ALE-55 towed decoy
- Northrop Grumman AN/ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver
- MIDS LVT or MIDS JTRS datalink transceiver
Notable appearances in media 
See also 
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Dassault Rafale
- Eurofighter Typhoon
- Grumman F-14 Tomcat
- McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
- Mikoyan MiG-29K
- Saab JAS 39 Gripen (Gripen NG)
- Sukhoi Su-33
- Related lists
- List of fighter aircraft
- List of active United States military aircraft
- List of United States military aerial refueling aircraft
- "... the Pentagon would get $495 million to buy nine Boeing Co. F/A-18E/F fighters..." The average is 80.4 million.
- "It (Super Hornet) has only 36 percent of the F-14's payload/range capability."
- "Navy celebrates 500th Super Hornet, Growler delivery." U.S. Navy, 20 April 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Analysis of the Fiscal Year 2012 Pentagon Spending Request." costofwar.com. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
- "Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 President's Budget Submission: Navy Justification Book Volume 1 Aircraft Procurement, Navy Budget Activities 1–4, p. 1-15." U.S. Department of Defense, February 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- Capaccio, Tony. "Lockheed F-35 Program Faces $1 Billion Cut in U.S. Senate Spending Measure." Bloomberg, 16 December 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- Jenkins, Dennis R. F/A-18 Hornet: A Navy Success Story. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 0-07-134696-1.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet." Boeing. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Donald 2004, p. 45.
- Young, J., R. Anderson and R. Yurkovich. "A Description of the F/A-18E/F Design and Design Process" (F/A-18E intended to replace A-6 and F-14D). 7th AIAA/USAF/NASA/ISSMO Symposium on Multidisciplinary Analysis and Optimization, AIAA-98-4701, St. Louis, Missouri, 2–4 September 1998.
- Frost, Patricia. "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Approved For Low-Rate Production," Boeing, 28 March 1997. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Enters Production." Boeing, 22 September 1997. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Operational and Test Evaluation of F/A-18E/F and F-22 review to Senate Armed Services Committee." Armed-services.senate.gov, 22 March 2000. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Nathman, John, Rear Admiral U.S. Navy. "DoD Special Briefing on "Super Hornet" Operation Evaluation Results." Defenselink.mil, 15 September 2000. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "F/A-18 fact file." U.S. Navy, 13 October 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet: Tomorrow's Air Power Today."[dead link] National Defense Industrial Association, 4 July 2008.
- Cavas, Christopher P. "Navy, Boeing downplay alleged F/A-18 problems." Navy Times, 18 May 2007. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Ozburn, Marguerite. "F/A-18E/F Block II upgrades add to Super Hornet's potent arsenal." Boeing Frontiers, June 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Fulghum, David A. "Navy Details New Super Hornet Capabilities." Aviation Week and Space Technology, 25 February 2007. Retrieved: 256 July 2011.
- Reed, John. "Boeing: F-35 hasn’t yet won in Japan." DoD Buzz, 16 December 2011.
- Jennings, Faith. "Raytheon to Provide Revolutionary AESA Capabilities to 135 F/A-18s." Raytheon, 23 January 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Fulghum, David. A. "Boeing Plans Sixth Generation Fighter With Block 3 Super Hornet." Aviation Week, 30 January 2008. Retrieved 17 February 2008.
- Norris, Guy. "GE Eyes More Powerful Engine For Super Hornets, Growlers." Aviation Week, 14 May 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Trimble, Stephen. "Boeing's Super Hornet seeks export sale to launch 20% thrust upgrade." Flight International, 12 May 2009.
- Barrie, Douglas, Amy Butler and Robert Wall. "Manufacturers Vie To Close Fighter Gap." Aviation Week, 30 July 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Peniston, Bradley. "Boeing Pitches Upgrades for F/A-18E/F."[dead link] Defense News, 20 July 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Sweetman, Bill. "Boeing Claims Secret Strike Weapon Effort." Aviation Week, 20 July 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Testing the next-generation Super Hornet." Flight International, 12 July 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Arror, Shiv. "Boeing Offers India "Super Hornet International Roadmap." livefist, 13 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Tournade, Sara. "Boeing well positioned for future strike-fighter market." Boeing, 21 June 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
- Minnick, Wendell. "Boeing Unveils New Hornet Options at Aero India". Defense News, 8 February 2011.
- Nativi, Andy. "Boeing Reveals Details Of International F-18." Aviation Week, 4 November 2011.
- Fulghum, David A. "Boeing Offers New Capabilities For F/A-18s." Aviation Week, 23 November 2011.
- Frost, Patricia. "Boeing Selects Supplier for Super Hornet Block II Infrared Search and Track Capability." Boeing, 2 July 2007.
- Kelly, Heather. "Lockheed Martin Awarded Technology Development Contract for F/A-18E/F Infrared Search and Track Program." Lockheed Martin Press Release, 18 May 2009.
- Hilliard, Melissa. "Lockheed Martin Awarded U.S. Navy F/A-18 E/F IRST Sensor System EMD Contract." Lockheed Martin, 22 November 2011.
- "Boeing Receives US Navy Contract to Develop New Mission Computer for Super Hornet and Growler." Space Media Network, 15 November 2011.
- "Boeing aims to keep building F/A-18 jets through 2020."
- Kress, Bob and Paul Gilchrist, Rear Admiral USN ret. "F-14D Tomcat vs. F/18 E/F Super Hornet."Flight Journal Magazine, February 2002 Issue.
- "Boeing Super Hornet Demonstrates Aerial Refueling Capability." Boeing Global Strike Systems, 14 April 1999. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Donald 2004, p. 76.
- Donald 2004, pp. 49–52.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet – maritime strike attack aircraft." naval-technology.com. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- Elward 2001, p. 77.
- Peterson, Donald. "Ready On Arrival: Super Hornet Joins The Fleet: An Evolutionary Design Delivers Revolutionary Capabilities." Navy League, June 2002.
- Elward 2001, pp. 74–75.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet." Boeing. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Gaddis, Capt. "BD". "F/A-18 & EF-18G Program brief." U.S. Navy, 24 April 2007.
- "F/A-18-E/F Super Hornet... Leading Naval Aviation into the 21st Century." U.S. Navy, 17 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Donald 2004, pp. 50–51, 56.
- "USN looking at adding conformal fuel tanks on F/A-18E/F--also a look at Super Hornet RCS reduction measures."
- Winchester 2006, p. 166.
- "Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet." airframer.com. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- Pike, John. "AN/ALE-55 Fiber Optic Towed Decoy." Globalsecurity.org, 16 August 2010.
- "New APG-79 AESA Radars for Super Hornets." Defense Industry Daily, 26 April 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- "New U.S. Navy Radar Detects Cruise Missiles." Aviation Week and Space Technology, 30 April 2007.
- "F/A-18 AESA – New Technology Revolutionizes Radar Benefits." U.S. Navy, 8 July 2002. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Boeing F/A-18E/F Block 2 Super Hornets Flying at Naval Air Station Oceana." Boeing, 8 January 2007.
- "Boeing Dual-Cockpit Cueing System Introduced to U.S. Navy Squadron." defense-aerospace.com. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Clemons, John. "Raytheon Awarded Navy Contract to Increase SHARP System Capability." Raytheon, 4 October 2006.
- Rosenberg-Macaulay, Barry. "MIDS JTRS systems poised to bring IP networking to the aerial tier." defensesystems.com, 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "JTRS Update: MIDS Blazes JTRS Trail." military-information-technology.com, Volume 14, Issue 8, September 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
- "USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 History." uscarriers.net, 4 August 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Strikes Continue: ISAF Air Component Commander Visits Big E." U.S. Navy, 9 November 2006. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- Moore, Lt. Shannon. "CVW-7 Sailors Complete an Eight-Month Deployment." U.S. Navy, 22 May 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Trimble, Stephen. "US Navy Super Hornet deal could cut JSF numbers." Flight International, 23 July 2007.
- Ewing, Philip. "U.S. Navy Mulls New F/A-18E/F Buy." DefenseNews.com, 5 March 2008.
- Dunn, Robert F. "Where Have all the Strike Fighters Gone?" Tailhook Daily Briefing, 1 October 2008.
- Brett, Mary Ann and Philip Carder. "Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet a Finalist in Brazil Fighter Aircraft Competition." Boeing, 1 October 2008.
- "DoD News Briefing With Secretary Gates From The Pentagon." defenselink.mil, 6 April 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- "Navy F/A-18E/F and EA-18G Aircraft Procurement and Strike Fighter Shortfall: Background and Issues for Congress." opencrs.com. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Shalal-Esa, Andrea. "US defense compromise authorizes F/A-18 multiyear deal." Forbes. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Tilghman, Andrew. "Bill would give go-ahead to buy Super Hornets." navytimes.com, 25 June 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Trimble, Stephen. "US DoD agrees to buy 124 F/A-18E/Fs and EA-18Gs over 4 years." Flight International, 14 May 2010.
- Tilghman, Andrew. "Gates: Fighter gap ignores real-world demand." navytimes.com, 8 June 2006. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Leiser, Ken. "Boeing lands $5.3 billion fighter jet contract with Navy." stltoday.com, 29 September 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
- "Super Hornet Acquisition Contract Signed." defence.gov.au, 5 March 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Australia to Acquire 24 F/A-18F Super Hornets."[dead link] minister.defence.gov.au. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "The 7.30 Report: Nelson stands by fighter jet decision." Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), (Transcript, broadcast 15 March 2007). Retrieved 13 April 2007.
- Criss, Peter. "There is nothing super about this Hornet." The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2007. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Baker, Richard. "The Hornet's nest." The Age, 9 July 2007.
- Allard, Tom. "Axe set to fall on Nelson's fighters." The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 December 2007. Retrieved 4 July 2008.
- "Govt to keep Super Hornets." The Age, 17 March 2008.
- "Government clears Super Hornets deal." The Age, 17 March 2008.
- Dunlop, Tim. "Super Hornets are go." news.com.au, 18 March 2008.
- "Australia – F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Aircraft." U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, 6 February 2007.
- Dodd, Mark. "RAAF likes the sound of the Growler." The Australian, 15 August 2008.
- Smith, Jack. "Super Hornets wired for future upgrades." Department of Defence, 27 February 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- Carder, Phillip. "Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet for Australia Takes Flight." Boeing, 21 July 2009.
- "Super Hornets arrive in south-east Queensland." ABC News, 26 March 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Hurst, Daniel. "Pilots buzzing as Super Hornets arrive." The Brisbane Times, 6 July 2010.
- Waldron, Greg. "Australia’s first F/A-18F squadron declared operational." Flight International, 9 December 2010.
- "Joint Media Release: Australia’s future Air Combat Capability." Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel (Australian Government Department of Defence), 13 December 2012.
- Australia to buy 12 EA-18G Growlers - Defense-Aerospace.com, May 3, 2013
- Cavas, Christopher P. "Navy: Super Hornet rep for problems untrue." marinecorpstimes.com, 17 June 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Butler, Amy. "Marines Sign on for F-35C." Aviation Week, 14 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
- "Super Hornets, Awacs may feature in RMAF modernisation plans." Utusan Malaysia, 16 April 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- Warwick, Graham. "Boeing Submits Danish Super Hornet Proposal". Aviation Week, 28 August 2008.
- Brett, Mary Ann and Philip Carder. "Boeing, US Navy Offer Super Hornet for Denmark Fighter Competition" Boeing, 27 August 2008.
- Trimble, Stephen. "Brazil names three finalists for F-X2 contract, rejects three others" Flight International, 6 October 2008.
- "Boeing offers F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to Denmark". defenseworld.net, 29 August 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
- Nelson, Brian and Kapil Sharma. "Boeing Delivers Proposal to Equip Indian Air Force with Super Hornet Fighters." Boeing, 24 April 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
- Nelson, Brian and Swati Rangachari. "Boeing Submits Combat Aircraft Industrial-Participation Proposal to Indian Government." Boeing, 4 August 2008.
- "F-18 comes in first, trials begin." Times of India, 18 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Bajaj, Vikas. "U.S. Loses Bids to Supply Jets to India." The New York Times, 28 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- Guse, Paul and Phillip Carder. "Boeing to Offer Super Hornet for Greece's Next-Generation Fighter Program." Boeing, 10 March 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
- Scully, Megan. "Air Force urged to consider Navy F-18s." CongressDaily via govexec.com, 6 August 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- Clark, Colin, "UK May Borrow F-18s For Carriers: F-35Bs May Be Scrapped." dodbuzz.com, 31 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- Tran, Philip. "UAE May Ditch Rafale: Hornet a Surprise Competitor for $10B Deal." defensenews.com, 13 September 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Aviation companies decry F-35 purchase." CBC News, 5 November 2010.
- "Bulgarian Defense Chief Gets Saab Offer on Gripen Fighter Jets." Novinite, 4 February 2011.
- Campion-Smith, Bruce. "Ottawa to overhaul purchase of F-35 fighter jets in wake of Auditor General’s report." Toronto Star, 2 April 2012.
- Buliavac, Joseph M. "The aircrew of an F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the "Fighting Redcocks" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, wait to launch from Catapult 3 during night flight operations." navy.mil, 2 December 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "CSFWP Link." lemoore.navy.mil. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "Contract." U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), 10 August 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet." Aerospaceweb.org. Retrieved 16 August 2010.
- "F/A-18E Hornet". blogspot.com. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
- "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet." Fas.org. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
- "F/A-18F Super Hornet" Fighterworld retrieved 20 February 2013
- Donald, David. "Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet", Warplanes of the Fleet. London: AIRtime Publishing Inc, 2004. ISBN 1-880588-81-1.
- Elward, Brad. Boeing F/A-18 Hornet (WarbirdTech, Vol. 31). North Branch, MN: Specialty Press, 2001. ISBN 1-58007-041-8.
- Holmes, Tony. US Navy Hornet Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom. London: Osprey Publishing, 2004. ISBN 1-84176-801-4.
- Jenkins, Dennis R. F/A-18 Hornet: A Navy Success Story. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. ISBN 0-07-134696-1.
- Winchester, Jim. The Encyclopedia of Modern Aircraft. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press, 2006. ISBN 1-59223-628-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: F/A-18E/F Super Hornet|
|Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet Cutaway|
|"Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet Cutaway" Flight International|
- F/A-18 U.S. Navy fact file, and F/A-18 Navy history page
- F/A-18E/F Super Hornet on NorthropGrumman.com
- F/A-18E/F Super Hornet page and F/A-18 Schematics on GlobalSecurity.org
- F/A-18E/F Super Hornet pages on Vectorsite.net
- "USS Enterprise aircraft deliver lethal sting of bombs to enemy in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes, 13 October 2006
- "Boeing F/A-18E/F Block 2 Super Hornets Flying at Naval Air Station Oceana", Boeing, 8 January 2007
- List of all USN/USMC Hornets/Super Hornets by Lot/Bureau Number (BuNo) and their known disposition
- Operational Lessons Learned from the F/A-18E/F Total Flight. Control Systems Integration Process.