An F/A (Fighter & Attacker) is a title rarely given to new models of aircrafts because of the strict criteria that the plane has to meet. Attackers have the ability to carry bombs and fighters have the ability to carry missiles. Because of this mix, the F/A-18 can carry many lightweight weapons that other warplanes cannot. The F/A-18 is usually carrier-based except for training over land.
The F/A-18 has 2 Turbine Engines, which gives it the ability to break past the sound barrier. The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, four-season carrier-capable multipurpose and multirole combat jet, designed as both a combatant and an attack jet. Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter’s YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations. The U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, has operated the Hornet since 1986.
The first McDonnell Douglas Hornet made its first flight 20 years ago at 11:04AM on Nov. 18, 1978. Company test pilot, Jack Krings, took the new fighter on a 50-minute flight from St. Louis over Southern Illinois, climbing to 10,000 feet for a series of tests and then up to 24,000 feet for more tests, performing beyond expectations.
Before the F-18, no attack aircraft could match or outperform a fighter in the air. Likewise, no fighter aircraft possessed capabilities that enabled it to carry out the ground attack role without an additional pilot. Even multi-role aircraft, which could perform either duty, often couldn’t carry enough equipment to destroy ground and air targets in the same mission. The A/F-18 Hornet was an explosively innovative advancement, being able to fight ground and air targets on the same mission.