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  • McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet Multirole Fighter

    The Royal Canadian Air Force makes use of over 100 American FA-18 Hornet fighters as the CF-18 Hornet.

     Updated: 6/3/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The CF-18 / CF-188 "Hornet" is the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) equivalent of the American McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 "Hornet" single-seat, carrier-based 4th Generation Fighter. Like others, Canada elected to adopted the naval-minded Hornet as a land-based fighter and took deliveries of 138 of the modern aircraft between 1982 and 1988. The aircraft were formally introduced in USN service during 1983 and became a fixture of several national Western air powers since. The McDonnell Douglas name now falls under the Boeing brand label as its subsidiary following the 1997 merger between the two former rivals.

    Up to this point in Canadian history, the RCAF relied on a mix of aged and out-going American-designed fighters used to fulfill NORAD, NATO, and local defense commitments. This gave rise to a standardization measure which sought to adopt an "all-in-one" solution to fulfill all of these required roles. The Canadian government defense program that followed became the aptly-titled "New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) program with the primary requirement being that the RCAF select an existing fighter mount. This led to the usual suspects of the time being interviewed (F-14, F-15, Mirage F1, etc...) until there remained just the General Dynamics F-16 "Fighting Falcon" and the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 "Hornet". These aircraft originally arose out of a USAF endeavor to secure a new lightweight fighter design with the service eventually selecting the F-16 for serial production (over the competing Northrop YF-17 "Cobra", forerunner to the finalized F/A-18 Hornet of the USN). The Hornet was selected by the United States Navy.

    This left the F/A-18 as the winner of the NFA program in 1980 for its inherent qualities - including its approachable procurement tag. It was a twin-engine design unlike the F-16 which aided in survivability and could carry a broad air-to-air and air-to-surface war load (including mixed loads) while operating in cold weather and over-water environments. The AGP-65 radar suite was a capable system which offered tracking and engagement of targets above and below the aircraft over variable terrain. The Canadian government moved on ordering the type through its two primary guises - the single-seat fighter with strike capability and the twin-seat fighter (retaining full combat capability) to be used in training its RCAF airmen. The RCAF took on 98 of the former and 40 of the latter under the formal RCAF designation of "CF-188".

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    McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1983
    Type: Multirole Fighter
    National Origin: Canada
    Manufacturer(s): McDonnell Douglas / Boeing - USA
    Production Total: 138

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1 or 2
    Length: 56.00 feet (17.07 meters)
    Width: 40.39 feet (12.31 meters)
    Height: 15.29 feet (4.66 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 23,049 lb (10,455 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 51,588 lb (23,400 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 2 x General Electric F404-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engines developing 16,000lbs of thrust each.

    Maximum Speed: 1,128 mph (1,815 kph; 980 knots)
    Maximum Range: 2,069 miles (3,330 km)
    Service Ceiling: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 50,000 feet-per-minute (15,240 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x 20mm M61A1 Vulcan internal Gatling-style cannon
    2 x AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles on wingtip launchers.

    External stores across nine hardpoints up to 13,700lbs to include:

    AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles
    AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles
    AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles
    AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles
    Rocket Pods
    Laser- / Precision-guided drop bombs
    Conventional drop bombs
    External fuel tanks (jettisonable)
    Special mission pods (as needed)

    Global Operators / Customers


    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    CF-18A - Single-seat all-weather multirole strike fighter

    CF-18B - Twin-seat training variant

    CF-188A - Official Canadian Air Force designation for CF-18A models.