Make your own free website on
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

Role: Carrier-borne and land-based attack/fighter.
DESIGN FEATURES: Sharp-edged, cambered leading-edge extensions (LEX), slots at fuselage junction and outward-canted twin fins are designed to produce high agility and docile performance at angles of attack over 50 degrees; wings have 20 degrees sweepback at quarter-chord; wings fold up 90 degrees at inboard end of ailerons, even on land-based F/A-18s; landing gear designed for unflared landings on runways as well as on carriers.
STRUCTURE: Multi-spar wing mainly of light alloy, with graphite/epoxy inter-spar skin panels and trailing-edge flaps; tail surfaces mainly graphite/epoxy skins over aluminium honeycomb core; graphite/epoxy fuselage panels and doors; titanium engine firewall. Northrop Grumman produces rear and centre fuselages; assembly and test at McDonnell Douglas St Louis factory; CASA produces horizontal tail surfaces, flaps, leading-edge extensions, speedbrakes, rudders and rear side panels for all F/A-18s.
LANDING GEAR: Dowty retractable tricycle type, with twin-wheel nose and single-wheel main units. Nose unit retracts forward, surface of the engine air ducts. Bendix wheels and brakes. Nosewheel tyres size 22 x 6.6-10, 20 ply, pressure 24.13 bars (350 lb/sq in) for carrier operations, 10.34 bars (150 lb/sq in) for land operations. Mainwheel tyres size 30 x 11.5-14.5, 24 ply, pressure 24.13 bars (350 lb/sq in) for carrier operations, 13.79 bars (200 lb/sq in) for land operations.
POWER PLANT: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 low bypass turbofans initially, each producing approx 71.2 kN (16,000 lb st) with afterburning. F404-GE-402 EPE (Enhanced Performance Engine) standard from early 1992; rated at approx 78.3 kN (17600 lb st). Self-sealing fuel tanks and fuel lines; foam in wing tanks and fuselage voids. Internal fuel capacity (JP5) approx 6061 litres (1600 US gallons; 1333 Imp gallons). Provision for up to three 1250 litre (330 US gallon; 275 Imp gallon) external tanks.
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only, on Martin-Baker SJU-5/6 ejection seat, in pressurised, heated and air-conditioned cockpit. Upward opening canopy, with separate windscreen, on all versions. Two pilots in F/A-18B and USN F/A-18D; pilot and Naval Flight Officer in USMC F/A-18D.
AVIONICS: Include an automatic carrier landing system (ACLS) for all-weather carrier operations; a Hughes Aircraft AN/APG-65 multi-mode digital air-to-air and air-to-ground tracking radar, with air-to-air modes which include velocity search (VS), range while search (RWS), track while scan (TWS), which can track 10 targets and display eight to the pilot, and raid assessment mode (RAM). Hughes AN/APG-73 radar in C/Ds for USN, USMC, Finland, Malaysia and Switzerland from May 1994. Smiths Industries multi-purpose colour map display; two Kaiser monochrome MFDs (colour on Night Attack Hornets). Collins AN/ARN-118 Tacan, AN/ARC-182 UHF/VHF com and DF-301E UHF/DF; Magnavox AN/ALR-50 and Litton AN/ALR-67 RWRs; GEC-Marconi Type 117 laser designator; Harris AN/ASW-25 radio data link; Eaton AN/ARA-63 receiver/decoder; GEC-Marconi FID 2035 horizontal situation display; Bendix/King HSI; J. E. T. ID-1791/A flight director indicator; General Electric quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire flight control system, with direct electrical backup to all surfaces and direct mechanical backup to tailerons; two Control Data AN/AYK-14 digital computers; Litton AN/ASN-130A inertial navigation system (plus GPS from FY 1993), but being replaced by Litton AN/ASN-139 ring laser system (including retrofits); two Kaiser multi-function CRTs, central GEC-Marconi-Bendix/King CRT and Kaiser AN/AVQ-28 HUD; Conrac communications system control; Normalair-Garrett digital data recorder for Bendix/King maintenance recording system; flight incident recording and monitoring system (FIRAMS).
ARMAMENT: Nine external weapon stations, comprising two wingtip stations for AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles; two outboard wing stations for an assortment of air-to-air or air-to-ground weapons, including AIM-7 Sparrows, AIM-9 Sidewinders, AIM-120 AMRAAMs (launch trials by VX-4 in 1992; cleared for squadron use mid-1993), AGM-84 Harpoons and AGM-65F Maverick missiles; two inboard wing stations for external fuel tanks, air-to-ground weapons or Brunswick ADM-141 TALD tactical air-launched decoys; two nacelle fuselage stations for Sparrows or Martin-Marietta AN/ASQ-173 laser spot tracker/strike camera (LST/SCAM) or AN/AAS-38 and AN/AAR-50 sensor pods (see Avionics); and a centreline fuselage station for external fuel or weapons. Air-to-ground weapons include GBU-10 and -12 laser-guided bombs, Mk 82 and Mk 84 general purpose bombs, and CBU-59 cluster bombs. An M61A1 20 mm six-barrel gun, with 570 rounds, is mounted in the nose and has a McDonnell Douglas director gunsight, with a conventional sight as backup.
Aircraft Measures:
Length: 56 ft.
Height: 15 ft., 3.5 in.
Wingspan: 37 ft., 6 in.
Loaded Weight: 36,710 lbs

Aircraft Performance:
Maximum Speed: Mach 1.8+
Service Ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Range: 2,303 miles
Thrust: 32,000