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McAIR F/A-18 Super Hornet

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F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is the nation's newest tactical fighter to enter production. The first 12 Super Hornets to enter service with the Navy are now in low-rate initial production at The Boeing Company in St. Louis and at Northrop Grumman facilities in El Segundo, Calif.

The Super Hornet, which is currently in flight test, is expected to enter the fleet in 2001 with production continuing through 2015.

The newest edition to the combat-proven family of F/A-18 Hornet, the Super Hornet is a full 25 percent larger than its predecessor but has nearly half as many parts. Both the single-seat E and two-seat F models offer longer range, greater endurance, more payload-carrying ability, more powerful engines, increased carrier bringback capability, enhanced survivability and a renewed potential for future growth.

Structural changes to the airframe increase internal fuel capacity by 3,600 pounds, or about 33 percent. This extends the Hornet's mission radius by up to 40 percent.

The fuselage is slightly longer - the result of a 34-inch extension - and the wing is 25 percent larger with 100 additional square feet of surface area. There are two additional weapons stations, bringing the total to 11. For aircraft carrier operations, about three times more payload can be brought back to the ship.

Increased engine power comes from the F414-GE-400, an advanced derivative of the Hornet's current F404 engine family. The F414 produces 35 percent more thrust and improves overall mission performance. Enlarged air inlets provide increased airflow to the engines.

Avionics and software are 90 percent common with current F/A-18C/Ds. However, the F/A-18E/F crew station features a touch-sensitive, up-front control display, a larger, liquid crystal multipurpose color display and a new engine fuel display.

The Super Hornet is an all-weather, day and night, multi-mission strike fighter that is harder to find, and if found, harder to hit, and if hit, harder to disable.

The program has remained on schedule and on budget since June 1992 when the Navy awarded then McDonnell Douglas a contract for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the Super Hornet. Under the contract, McDonnell Douglas built 10 test articles - seven flying aircraft and three ground test aircraft. In January 1996, a three-year flight test program began at the Naval Air Warfare Center at Patuxent River, Md. EMD is now 90 percent complete.

The Boeing Company leads a nationwide industry team that builds the Super Hornet. Boeing builds the forward fuselage and wings, and completes final assembly. Northrop Grumman Corp. is the principal airframe subcontractor, supplying the center and aft fuselage. General Electric Co. produces the F414 engines and Raytheon provides the APG-73 radar.

Sources: Boeing

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