Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Cost, Speed, Specs, Features, and Pictures. The Boeing F/A -18 E/F Super Hornet is a carrier-based multi-role tactical fighter and attack aircraft. The Super Hornet is powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engines with 22,000 pounds of thrust each.
Two versions of the F/A -18 Super Hornet are being produced, the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model. Customers include the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). As of January 2018, the U.S. Navy operates a fleet of 561 Super Hornets (284 F/A -18 E and 257 F/A -18 F). Furthermore, Boeing has delivered 24 F/A -18 Fs to the RAAF.
With its selected external equipment, the Super Hornet can be optimized to accomplish both fighter and attack missions. The F/A -18 E/F provides a 40% increase in combat radius, 50% increase in endurance, 25% greater weapons payload, three times more ordnance, and is five times more survivable than the F/A -18 Hornet models. These major performance improvements are mainly due to the superior F414-GE-400 engine, which is more powerful than the F404 used on the F/A -18 Hornet.
The Super Hornet is equipped with a Raytheon AN/APG -79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, which is integrated with the aircraft’s AN/ASQ -228 Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) targeting pod from Raytheon; the Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS); the Multifunctional Information Distribution System.
Other systems onboard are the Raytheon AN/ALR -67( V) 3 digital radar warning receiver (RWR), the BAE Systems/Exelis AN/ALQ -214 Integrated Defensive Countermeasures (IDECM), the BAE Systems AN/ALE -47 countermeasures dispenser, Raytheon AN/ALE -50 towed decoy, and the Rockwell Collins AN/ARC -210 VHF/UHF Airborne Communications System. More recently, in January 2015, the U.S. Navy approved Lockheed Martin’s IRST21 passive long-range sensor system for the F/A -18 E/F.
Boeing’s F/A -18 assembly line is located in St. Louis, Missouri. As a principal subcontractor, Northrop Grumman produces the aft/center fuselage section and vertical tails and integrates all associated subsystems at its facilities in El Segundo, California.
The F/A -18 E/F has eleven weapons stations (hardpoints) – 2 on wingtips, 6 under-wing, and 3 under-fuselage – and carries a wide range of ordnance. It features an M61-A1/ A2 Vulcan 20mm gatling gun and can be equipped with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles (incl. AIM-9X), AIM-120 AMRAAM, AGM-88 HARM/AARGM, AGM-154 JSOW, AGM-158 JASSM, GBU-31/ 38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) as well as several other types of ordnance.
According to Boeing, a typical basic loadout for a self-escort strike mission includes the AN/ASQ -228 ATLIR targeting pod, one AIM-120 AMRAAM, two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and an external fuel tank. This leaves the six under-wing weapon stations available to carry a variety of weapons and other stores.
F/A -18 E/F & EA-18G Production Forecast:
A 15-year F/A -18 E/F & EA-18G production forecast is available through Forecast International’s Platinum Forecast System, which includes a breakout of total market unit and value statistics by manufacturer and end-user.
This real-time service also includes information on all prime and subcontractors, contract awards, worldwide inventories, a complete program history, and a rationale detailing the outlook of the program.
A 10-year F/A -18 E/F & EA-18G production forecast is also available in report format through Forecast International’s Military Aircraft Forecast service.
The F/A -18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighter performs traditional missions of fighter escort and fleet air defense, interdiction, and close air support, while still retaining excellent fighter and self-defense capabilities.
The F/A -18 E/F was designed to replace the F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft. The Super Hornet has a secondary mission as carrier-based aerial tanking aircraft – this capability used to be provided by the now retired S-3B Viking.
Boeing has developed the Block III Super Hornet to complement existing and future air wing capabilities. The upgrades have evolved to complement other U.S. Navy aircraft to effectively operate together in the air wing for decades to come.
Built for Air Superiority
The F/A -18 Block III Super Hornet is the newest highly capable, affordable and available tactical aircraft in U.S. Navy inventory. The Super Hornet is the backbone of the U.S. Navy carrier air wing now and for decades to come.
The combat-proven Super Hornet delivers cutting-edge, next-generation multi-role strike fighter capability, outdistancing current and emerging threats well into the future. The Super Hornet has the capability, flexibility and performance necessary to modernize the air or naval aviation forces of any country.
Two versions of the Super Hornet– the single-seat E model and the two-seat F model– are able to perform virtually every mission in the tactical spectrum, including air superiority, day/night strike with precision-guided weapons, fighter escort, close air support, suppression of enemy air defenses, maritime strike, reconnaissance, forward air control and tanker missions.
F/A -18 Super Hornet Customers
The first operational F/A -18 E/F Super Hornet squadron formed in June 2001 and deployed into combat aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in July 2002. In April 2005, Boeing delivered the first Block II Super Hornet, complete with the world’s first tactical multi-mode AESA radar, and it became fully operational at the end of 2007.
Super Hornet Quick Facts
- Every Super Hornet has been delivered on cost and on schedule.
‘The Super Hornet is the most cost-effective aircraft in the U.S. tactical aviation fleet, costing less per flight hour than any other tactical aircraft in U.S. forces inventory.
- The Commonwealth of Australia operates 24 Super Hornets. Boeing completed delivery, ahead of schedule, in Oct. 2011.
- In August 2013, Boeing and Northrop Grumman conducted flight tests with a prototype of an Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks, an enclosed weapons pod and signature enhancements. The successful flights proved the Super Hornet can outpace threats through 2040.
- The first successful flight of the Infrared Search and Track sensor system was in Feb. 2014, and the U.S. Navy approved IRST for low-rate initial production in Jan. 2015.
- As part of the FY18 budget was a requirement for 80 Super Hornets over the next five years as part of the Future Years Defense Program, including funding for Research Development, Test & Evaluation for Block III capabilities. The U.S. Navy added an additional 10 Super Hornets into the FY18 budget as its No. 1 unfunded priority.
Super Hornet Technical Specifications
- Empty Weight F/A-18E: 32,100 lb (14,552 kg)
- Max Takeoff Weight 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
- Thrust Each engine up to 17,000 lbs
- Carrier Bringback Payload F/A-18E: 9,900 lb (4,491 kg)
- F/A-18F: 9,000 lb (4,082 kg)
- Field Landing Weight
- Field Landing Weight
- Speed Mach 1.6