F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Overview

F/A-18E/F in flight

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a combat-proven, 5th generation strike fighter with built-in versatility. The Super Hornet’s suite of integrated and networked systems provides enhanced interoperability, total force support for the combatant commander and for the troops on the ground.

Both the single seat E and two-seat F models convert quickly from one mission type to the next with the flip of a switch to provide consistent air dominance:

  • Day/night strikes with precision-guided weapons
  • Anti-air warfare
  • Fighter escort
  • Close air support
  • Suppression of enemy air defense
  • Maritime strike
  • Reconnaissance
  • Forward air control
  • Tanker

Payload Flexibility

The Super Hornet’s versatility applies to its weapon stations and payload types:

  • 11 weapon stations
  • Supports a full complement of smart weapons, including laser-guided bombs
  • Carries a full spectrum mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance

Power and Flight Characteristics

The Super Hornet is powered by two General Electric F414-GE-400 engines:

  • Distinctive caret-shaped inlet to provide increased airflow and reduced radar signature
  • 22,000 pounds (98 Nm) of thrust per engine, 44,000 pounds (196 Nm) per aircraft

Flight qualities:

  • Highly departure resistant through its operational flight envelope.
  • Unlimited angle-of-attack and carefree flying qualities for highly effective combat capability and ease of training.
  • Reconfigurable digital flight-control system detects and corrects for battle damage.


Long-term designed in versatility ensures the Super Hornet’s investment value. Current upgrades delivered in the Block Two configuration include:

  • Active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar
  • Advanced targeting forward-looking infrared (ATFLIR) system
  • Joint-helmet mounted cueing system (JHMCS)
  • Multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS)
  • Advanced aft crew station
  • Fibre channel switch for increased data processing capability
  • Fully integrated weapons systems and sensors for reduced crew workload and increased capability.

Production History

The Super Hornet was built by a team that includes Boeing, Northrop Grumman, GE Aircraft Engines, Raytheon, and more than 1,800 suppliers in the United States and Canada.

  • First production model delivered to the U.S. Navy in December 1998
  • Entered service in November 1999
  • Minimum purchase of 460 Super Hornets by U.S. Navy through 2012

For more information, read the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (PDF) overview.

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