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Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Carrierbased Strike Aircraft (2002)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/12/2014

The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet represents the next evolution for the Hornet series of carrier-based aircraft.

The Super Hornet is the latest, and most likely the ultimate, evolution in the F/A-18 Hornet series of precision strike aircraft covering carrierborne operations. Produced by a consortium of contractors that includes Boeing and Northrop Grumman, the E/F Super Hornet series builds upon the successes fulfilled by the F/A-18C/D model series.

With the retirement of the highly acclaimed F-14 Tomcat series, the F/A-18 Super Hornet stands as the frontline carrierborne alternative to fulfill air interception and ground strike duties along with the electronic warfare role as found in the upcoming EA-18 "Growler" model series.

The Super Hornet takes the capabilities of the base F/A-18 series and ratchets it up a few notches by providing increased range and improved combat mission endurance. The Super Hornet also makes use of an increased and highly potent payload not to mention improved crew survivability. The system is also designed to make future modifications and modernizations easier through careful design planning and engineering.

The Super Hornet is expected to fulfill the roles of all-weather day/night strike, reconnaissance, air defense suppression, interception, close air support and precision strike. Depending on the model, crew accommodations can be of the one or two variety (F/A-18E - one / F/A-18F - two).

Boeing expects to shut down its Super Hornet production line sometime in 2014 with the scheduled arrival of the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II strike fighter coming into the American inventory. However, highly publicized delays and cost overruns have pushed the F-35 delivery date back some meaning that the Super Hornet may yet still find extended life.

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Specifications for the
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Carrierbased Strike Aircraft

Focus Model: Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Boeing Corporation - USA
Initial Year of Service: 2002
Production: 500

Crew: 1 or 2

Length: 60.07ft (18.31m)
Width: 44.69ft (13.62m)
Height: 16.01ft (4.88m)
Weight (Empty): 30,565lbs (13,864kg)
Weight (MTOW): 47,003lbs (21,320kg)

Powerplant: 2 x General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofan engines generating 22,000lbs of thrust with afterburner.

Maximum Speed: 1,187mph (1,911kmh; 1,032kts)
Maximum Range: 680miles (1,095km)
Service Ceiling: 49,213ft (15,000m; 9.3miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0m/min)

Hardpoints: 11 (including wingtips)
Armament Suite:
1 x 20mm internal cannon

Mission-specific ordnance limited up to 17,750lbs may include any of the following:

AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles
AIM-120 AMRAAM - air-to-air missiles
AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles
AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
LAU Multiple Rocket Launcher
AGM-154 JSW (Joint Standoff Weapon) bombs
Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs
B61 Nuclear Dumb Bomb
Paveway Laser-Guided Bombs (LGB)
Mk 80 General Purpose Bombs
Mk-20 Rockeye II Cluster Bombs
Mk 20 CBU Cluster Bombs

F/A-18E "Super Hornet" - Single-seat improved Hornet model replacing the retired F-14 Tomcat series.

F/A-18F "Super Hornet" - Two-seat improved Hornet model replacing the retired F-14 Tomcat series.

EA-18F "Growler" - Electronic Warfare Model of the "Super Hornet" line to replace the EA-6B Prowler series.

F/A-18E/F "Advanced Super Hornet" - Proposed stealthy variant; conformal fuel tanks; centerline weapons pod; revised cockpits.

Australia; United States