The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin engine, multi-mission fighter/attack aircraft that can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases. It was designed to attack both ground and aerial targets. Developed in the 1970s for service with the United States Navy (USN) and the US Marine Corps (USMC), it is also used by the air forces of several other nations. The Hornet fills a vast spectrum of roles, including fleet air defense, interdiction, air superiority, suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), close and deep air support, reconnaissance, forward air control, fighter escort, and day and night strike missions. In addition, it has been the aerial demonstration aircraft of the USNs Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, since 1986.
The F/A-18 was a result of the USNs Naval Fighter Attack Experimental (VFAX) program to procure a multirole aircraft to replace the F-4 Phantom II, A-4 Skyhawk and A-7 Corsair II, and to complement the F-14 Tomcat. Secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor, Jr. gave the name “Hornet” on March 1, 1977. The F/A-18 was among the first planes to heavily utilize multi-function displays, which at the switch of a button allow the pilot to perform either fighter or attack roles, or even both. The Hornet is also notable for having been designed with maintenance in mind, hence requiring far less downtime than its counterparts.
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