Now become operational within the armed forces of the United States and Canada, is being deployed in that of Spain and Australia, McDonnell-Douglas/Northrop F/A-18 most powerful fighter jet Hornet is probably fighter aircraft for the largest that has been developed over the past 10 years. The achievement of this unit to sleek and distinctive silhouette was long and bumpy, so that its manufacturer, Northrop subsidiary, is asked repeatedly if he could ever produce in large batches. Finally, the pugnacity of Northrop pays off, and the support and experience McDonnell-Douglas helped to ensure the ultimate success of the machine.
Rather than describing in detail the genesis of the Hornet (topic which deserves a very lengthy), we will simply state that the history of this unit began in the mid-’60s, when Northrop designed a proposal bearing the name P-530 Cobra. The U.S. company was able to use this process all the experience she gained with the implementation of the lineage of the F-5, other most powerful fighter jet. The new aircraft also had some similarities with its predecessor, if only by the shape in terms of its wing.
Finally success – MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET
Product due to duplicate the technology demonstrator Northrop YF-17 was opposite to the General Dynamics YF-16 under the Air Combat Fighter competition (ACF) of the U.S. Air Force. The defeat was bitter. The official authorities indeed carried their final choice on the F-16, which was commissioned at a rate of 650 copies. Some time later, the two aircraft were again confronted in order to allow the U.S. Navy to equip themselves a new fighter. Lacking experience in the design and development of combat aircraft on board, joined Northrop-McDonnell Douglas to promote the YF-17 was finally selected account 2 May 1975 to form the basis of a new machine. To make its choice, the U.S. Navy took into account certain criteria: the device made by Northrop was equipped with two reactors – which was an important safety feature – it showed a greater versatility than its competitor at General Dynamics, and its performance in the landing were more interesting. Although based on the YF-17, the device proposed by the U.S. firm would be differentiated enough to another name: the F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET, which meant he could carry out both missions hunting (F for fighter) and attack (A for attack).
The process that allows the passage of YF-17 to F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET was reflected by an increase in area designed to reduce as far as possible the approach speed to the bypass and increased internal fuel capacity . The aircraft structure was strengthened to allow the catapults and the establishment of an arrestor hook, while the mass of the external load increased to 8620 kg. A new landing gear was adopted, and avionics authorizing the use of aircraft in all weather, day or night, was installed. The wing was modified to become collapsible, and in addition, the machine received a refueling boom as well as electrical connections for the air to air missiles to equip medium-range AIM-7 Sparrow, characterized by a radar guidance system semi-active.
The detailed study of the F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET was launched January 22, 1976. Having made its first flight Nov. 18, 1978, over St. Louis, the Hornets suffered a long evaluation program. It was not until February 1981 that the first production aircraft entered service in the U.S. Navy, in this case within the VFA-125 Squadron of the Navy, based at NAS Lemoore (California). Meanwhile, two seater TF-18A training had provided most of the evaluation program.
The first unit to become operational on the device was the Fighter-Attack Squadron-314 WMFA U.S. Marine Corps Black Nights, based in El Toro (Calif.). If the forecasts are all conditions that budgets allow, 12 squadrons belonging ax will be processed on Hornet Marines before the end of this decade.
The USMC was the first service to use operationally the Hornet, but the U.S. Navy waited little time to consider what type of aircraft, the squadrons VFA-25 VFA-113 and begin their conversion in 1983. The VFA-113 Stingers receives its F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET in the middle of August of that year. As for the VFA-25, he began to collect his own in November. These two units, integrated into the Carrier Air Wing 14 (CVW-14), were the first to undertake a campaign at sea with aircraft of this type, when they were deployed in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV-64) in 1985.
Since that time, the Hornet was also engaged in the Mediterranean with the Navy Strike Fighter Squadrons VFA-131 and VFA-132 and VMFA-314 Squadrons VMFA-323 and U.S. Marine Corps, aboard the USS Coral Sea (CV-43) during the winter 1985-1986. The campaign took the form of attacks against warships Libyan raids on the life of Benghazi and HARM anti-radar missile against missile sites and stations electromagnetic detection.
Outside the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET and the McDonnell-Douglas/Northrop become operational in the Canadian Armed Forces where he served under the designation CF-188A as regards the single-seater and CF-188B for alternative drive two-seater. Canada must acquire 113 CF-25 CF-188A and 188B.
Intended to take over planes like the Lockheed CF-104 Starfighter, McDonnell-Douglas CF-101 Voodoo and the Northrop CF-116 Freedom Fighter CF-188 will be used by Canadian Air Force for two primary missions: air defense and attack. Delivery of the first two aircraft of this type (CF-188B two-seaters) intervened in October 1982, and pilot training began shortly thereafter.
The only two other countries that have decided to equip their air forces Hornets are Australia and Spain. The first has ordered 75 machines, including 57 F-18A and 18 TF-18A (with the exception of three TF-18A, these aircraft must be assembled by the domestic aviation industry, that is to say by the Government Aircraft Factory, Avalon). Plans drawn up by the Royal Australian Air Force provide for the establishment of three frontline squadrons. The first aircraft of this type have been approved in 1985 by the Operational Conversion Unit 2.
About its deal with Spain, they involve 72 aircraft, including 60 F-18A and 12 TF-18A. The Spanish pilot training began in the U.S., and deliveries began in the summer of 1986. The single seater was given to the local name of C15, and variant two-seater, which is currently in a training squadron whose establishment is about to end, that of EC15.
In terms of operational capabilities, the Hornet looks like a machine that can perform multi-role with equal ease missions as different as the interception and ground attack. This adaptability is primarily the multimode radar Hughes APG-65 that equips the aircraft. Made from the experience with the APG-63, installed aboard the McDonnell-Douglas F-15 Eagle, this apparatus has remarkable qualities, and its reliability exceeds all expectations.
The APG-65 has a self-testing system, which enables it to continuously monitor its own performance, diagnose potential failures and to notify the pilot and maintenance personnel. Its modular design, allowing quick and easy replacement of faulty elements, enables the device to retrieve all its capacities quickly.
The radar developed by Hughes for the F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET works in several modes and turns a particularly flexible employment. Air to air mode, it continuously provides the pilot with information about possible targets (quick search long distance, the antenna scans the sky ahead of the aircraft, indicating the contacts that come forward and give information on the direction of the threat and the closing speed).
Another important function of this radar is its ability to prosecute and simultaneous scanning. Used within 75 km distance, this mode can track 10 contacts while presenting the pilot with information regarding eight of them placed on the MFDs in the cockpit. At the same time, the radar shows what goals are the most immediate threat. In air combat, the Hornet is however hampered by the fact that the radar-guided missiles that prevails in this case AIM-7F Sparrow, can move towards their target when it is illuminated throughout the duration of their course.
Besides these different capacities air air, the APG-65 has a number of air-ground functions. The mapping is one of them, the radar restoring the main features of the terrain overflown, which makes navigation even during a mission.
The radar is not the only important element of the Hornet. The airplane carries into effect a number of computers that store and analyze data from various sensors (in fact, the F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET has a storage capacity much larger than that available to the F-15) . It may also be provided with two detachable pods that contain a scanning system to forward-facing infrared (FLIR for Forward-Looking Infra-Red) and laser equipment.
Placed on the fuselage attachment points while normally reserved for Sparrow missiles, these boats allow the identification of targets and fire control. They can accommodate a designator and a laser rangefinder that increase in a truly spectacular attack capabilities, already unusual, of the device.
Even without this equipment, the F/A-18 MOST POWERFUL FIGHTER JET McDonnell-Douglas/Northrop remains one of the fighting machines of the most powerful ever been commissioned in recent years.There is no doubt that the unit will play an increasingly significant in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps and Air forces outside the United States who have or who will acquisition.