The F/A-18 Hornet is a multi-mission, high-performance jet designed for fighter and attack missions. The Hornet's unique combination of power and light weight gives this aircraft impressive maneuverability, climb and acceleration. The agility of the fighter is crucial in combat as it engages both land and airborne targets.
When battle-ready, the Hornet can carry up to 17,000 pounds of armament, including a six-barrel 20mm cannon, two Sparrow and two Sidewinder missiles and externally-carried weapons. The Hornet's design is a fighter/attack aircraft was employed during the Gulf War, when two F/A-18s shot down two enemy aircraft and with a mere flip of a switch, changed roles and delivered four 2,000-pound bombs with pinpoint accuracy.
During operation Iraqi Freedom, Navy and Marine Corps pilots used the F/A-18 for both attack and close air support missions as they moved up into Iraq. The Navy deployed 90 F/A-18s from four aircraft carriers and the Marines put 36 F/A-18As and 36 F/A 18Cs into action. The Marines also deployed 12 F/A 18Ds, in tactical air coordination and airborne forward control roles. Four USMC F/A-18s and two F/A-18Ds were damaged, but all returned to base. One Nay F/A-18 was lost in combat.
MCAS Miramar Air ShowaircraftFA18