Saturday, November 22, 2008

Milestone: F/A-18 Hornet Celebrates 30th Anniversary of 1st Flight

An F/A-18C Hornet assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Southwest flies over Naval Air Station North Island and the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis November 18 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 flight. The Hornet making the commemorative flight was painted in the original manufacturer’s paint scheme and piloted by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest chief test pilot Cmdr. Craig Reiner. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph by Lt. Alex Allwein.)

Focus on Defense:

PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Nov. 22, 2008 -- The F/A-18 Hornet community celebrated the 30th anniversary of the legacy aircraft's first flight Nov. 18.

The Hornet, introduced as a multimission aircraft, was designed to replace the Navy's F-4 Phantom and A-7 Corsair II in each of their respective fighter and attack roles.

"Throughout its 30 years of service in the fleet, it has demonstrated its capability and maintainability," said Capt. Mark Darrah, F/A-18 and EA-18G (PMA-265) program manager.

Darrah noted that the Hornet has proven its multimission capability. He recounted that on the first day of Operation Desert Storm, two Hornets shot down an enemy fighter jet and continued on to destroy their assigned target. During the Kosovo War, Marine F/A-18Ds were used during the rescues of downed U.S. Air Force pilots.

Currently, 636 Legacy Hornets are part of 62 active, Reserve, training and research, development, test and evaluation squadrons within the Navy and Marine Corps fleet. Seven international business partners also fly the Hornet.

The entire F/A-18 family of aircraft, including the Hornet, Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, commemorated the accumulation of seven million flight hours in July.

"The Super Hornet and Growlers, built on the platform of the Hornet, are destined to continue the 30-year F/A-18 achievement in the future," said Darrah.

(Report from Program Executive Office Tactical Aircraft Public Affairs.)

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