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For the record, the airplane is, more often than not, refered to by those who fly and maintain it as an "F-18". In plenty of official documents by McDonnel Douglas/Boeing, the US Navy and USMC, it is called both the F/A-18 and/or FA-18. Sometimes both of those in the same document. It's never refered to as an A-18. But I'm not nitpicking... E2a2j (talk) 17:18, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
The reason was that a while back there was a bit of a disagreement as to the mission of the aircraft. F=Fighter and A=Ground Attack. Since it did both roles, ergo "F/A" was chosen. That said, most fighters have a dual role capability anyway and it is simpler to simply use the same terminology with all other fighters ("F-14", "F-15", "F-16", etc.) hence the fact that "F-18" is common. In an interesting coincidence, there were the same issues breached with the F-22 Raptor. Initially, the F-22 was going to be called the F/A-22. — BQZip01 —talk 00:14, 19 December 2008 (UTC)