The US Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornets are some of the most capable combat aircraft in the world, holding their own against the likes of the F-35.
The Boeing F/A-18 Hornet was one of the most capable military aircraft in the world when it entered service in 1983. However, the Hornet got even better with the introduction of the F/A-18 Super Hornet, which entered US service in 1999. The Super Hornet is based on the original Hornet, but takes it to the next level thanks to the F/A-18E and F/A-18F versions. The previous C and D versions of the Hornet are what these succeed, with the Super Hornet offering a larger payload and more advanced weapons systems.
While Super Hornet production is set to end in 2025, the Boeing aircraft still plays an important role within the US military. It backs up the more advanced F-35 Lightning II, and of course it was the star aircraft in Top Gun Maverick in 2022.
The F/A-18 Super Hornet Can Carry More Ammunition Than The Hornet
While the Super Hornet comes from the legacy Hornet, the aircraft is almost entirely new. The Super Hornet is 20% larger than its predecessor and weighs 7,000 lbs heavier when both aircraft are empty. The Super Hornet also carries 33% more fuel than the previous Hornet offering a 41% increase on mission range and 50% extra endurance as well. It is in the payload that the Super Hornet can carry more than the legacy Hornet. The Super Hornet can carry a maximum of 17,750 lbs of external ordnance.
Meanwhile, the legacy Hornet has a maximum payload of 14,000 lbs of ordnance, meaning there is a near 4,000 lbs increase for the Super Hornet versions. This extra payload comes in quite handy, making the Super Hornet a more capable aircraft. Especially with the increase in range and mission endurance. Not only that, but during takeoff the Super Hornet can become airborne in nearly 1,000 ft less than the legacy Hornet at a speed of around 20 knots less than the original Hornet. This is exceptional and impressive stuff, for an aircraft that is an evolution of the previous model.