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Boeing F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet

Carrier-Based Strike Fighter Aircraft Prototype

Boeing F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet

Carrier-Based Strike Fighter Aircraft Prototype


Boeing is offering its Advanced Super Hornet as an interim solution pending the full-operational status arrival of the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II system.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 2015
STATUS: In-Development
MANUFACTURER(S): Boeing Company - USA
OPERATORS: United States (possible)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Boeing F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 1 or 2
LENGTH: 60.07 feet (18.31 meters)
WIDTH: 44.69 feet (13.62 meters)
HEIGHT: 16.01 feet (4.88 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 32,077 pounds (14,550 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 66,139 pounds (30,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x General Electric F414 turbofan engines developing up to 17,000lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 1,193 miles-per-hour (1,920 kilometers-per-hour; 1,037 knots)
RANGE: 587 miles (945 kilometers; 510 nautical miles)
CEILING: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 45,000 feet-per-minute (13,716 meters-per-minute)

1 x 20mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun

Underfuselage centerline weapons pod housing 2 x AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range air-to-air missiles and 2 x AGM-154 Joint Standoff glide bombs, drop bombs, guided bombs or similar arrangement. Pod can be removed and all original eleven hardpoints can be used for up to 17,750lb of external ordnance.
Graphical image of an aircraft Gatling-style rotating gun
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of a medium-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition

Series Model Variants
• F/A-18 "Super Hornet" - Base Series Designation; two-seat strike platform; based on the single-seat F/A-18 Hornet carrier-based strike fighter.
• F/A-18E "Super Hornet" - Single-seat variant
• F/A-18F "Super Hornet" - Twin-Seat Variant
• F/A-18E/F "Advanced Super Hornet" - Project Designation for modified stealthy F/A-18E/F model; centerline weapons pod; conformal fuel tanks; revised cockpit intrumentation; conformal infrared Search-and-Track sensor equipment; retains all of the existing F/A-18E/F combat capabilities.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing F/A-18 Advanced Super Hornet Carrier-Based Strike Fighter Aircraft Prototype.  Entry last updated on 10/25/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Seeking to fill the void now presented by the expected delay of the F-35 Lightning II strike fighting into United States naval service, Boeing has taken to a private venture to produce a "stealthified" version of its excellent carrier-based F/A-18E/F "Super Hornet" series under the project designation of "Advanced Super Hornet". The type will feature modular components retrofitted to the existing Super Hornet airframe in an attempt to lower its radar signature and overall profile while being a budget conscious solution to current USN needs. Key to the changes will be implementation of an enclosed weapons pod under the fuselage, use of Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) and an all new "skin" coating along surfaces. On the whole, the airframe will remain largely the same and compatible with all current hardware and software systems in use. As such, it is expected that the Advanced Super Hornet will received some serious attention from the United States Navy and Super Hornet operators from around the world.

Considering that the USMC is expected to achieve operational levels with their F-35s not until 2015 with the USAF following in 2016, the USN - and its more complex requirements and arrangements - is pushing for full operational capability as far into the future as 2018 - leaving a noticeable gap between now and then. As it stands, the F/A-18 series is an experienced and proven flight system and simply modifying the type for modern service would seem a tempting choice for the USN while awaiting their more technology-laden airplane.

Boeing expects the revised Super Hornet to begin flight testing in the middle (or late) of 2013. The United States Navy is actively backing the Boeing initiative through its operations department (OPNAV) and has leased a USN Super Hornet production model to Boeing for the work. Initial flight evaluations with the conversion kits in place will take place at Boeing's St. Louis facility in Missouri and then, later, at the USN's Patuxent River NAS in Maryland. The test program is designed as a data-gathering effort to evaluate the feasibility of a "stealth" Super Hornet which would also extend the service life of this stalwart aircraft considerably (it is already expected to serve up until 2040). The base Super Hornet does field some inherent stealth capabilities though its external weapons loadout compromise further efforts - hence the development of a weapons pod to contain munitions until fired. The weapons pod will lay under the center fuselage and house up to four missiles (or similar stores). The conformal fuel tanks will not only retard the airframe's low already signature but also increase the base Super Hornet's combat radius from the standard 390 nautical miles to approximately 510 nautical miles. The cockpits will be slightly reworked to include increased-area touchscreen displays and projected engines will be uprated General Electric F414 turbofans.

The edits to the Super Hornet through the Advanced Super Hornet initiative may also be in contention for modifying the existing fleet of EA-18G Growler carrier-based Electronic Warfare Aircraft (EWA).

Currently, only two nations operate Super Hornets - the United States and Australia. The aircraft is under consideration with Canada, Bulgaria, Greece, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.


General Assessment

Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 1200mph
Lo: 600mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (1,193mph).

Graph average of 900 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Boeing F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (1)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
In the Cockpit...
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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