F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

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Product Type:

Multi-Role Tactical Fighter & Attack Aircraft

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

In production

Prime Contractors:

Airframe: The Boeing Company
Engines: General Electric Aviation

The F/A-18 Super Hornet

About the F/A-18E/F:

The Boeing F/A-18E/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 September 2015, the U.S. Navy has a fleet of 540 Super Hornets of which 279 are E-models and 261 F-models. Furthermore, Boeing has delivered 24 F/A-18Fs to the RAAF.

With its selected external equipment, the Super Hornet can be optimized to accomplish both fighter and attack missions. The F/A-18E/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
(MIDS); advanced high capacity computer system; and state-of-the-art cockpit. 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-18E/F. IRST21 uses infrared search and track technology to detect and track airborne threats. IRST21 is mounted on the nose section of the center fuel tank.

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-18E/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 (AIM-9X projected), 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.


The F/A-18E/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-18E/F was designed to replace the F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft. Also, 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.

FY 2017 DoD F/A-18 Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides historic F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet spending figures and quantities as well as a unique 10-Year Budget Forecast.

FY 2018 DoD F/A-18 Program:

This data is available in Forecast International's U.S. Defense Budget Forecast, which provides historic F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet spending figures and quantities as well as a unique 10-Year Budget Forecast.

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company,
Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Co., Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin,
and General Electric Co.

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