McDonnell Douglas (Boeing) F/A-18D Hornet
Fighter/Attack (F/A) supersonic, twin-engine, two-seat, all-weather, carrier-capable, multi-role jet fighter. Designed for air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. Primary roles are fighter escort, fleet air defence, suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD), air interdiction (AI), close air support, and recon. Fighter or attack roles or both can be performed at the switch of a button. The rear-seated Weapons and Sensors Officer assists in operating the weapons systems.
The F/A-18D is highly manoeuvrable, owing to its thrust to weight ratio, digital fly-by-wire control system, and leading edge extensions (LEX). The LEX allow the Hornet's wings to generate lift several times the aircraft's weight, despite high angles of attack, enabling extremely tight turns over a large range of speeds.
Entered service in 1983, first combat in 1986, F/A-18’s flew 4,551 sorties during the Gulf War.
Armament: 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon, 13,700 lb ordnance (mix of 70 mm & 127 mm rockets, Sidewinder, ASRAAM, IRIS-T, AMRAAM, Sparrow, Maverick, SLAM-ER, ARM, JSOW, Taurus, Harpoon, bombs, flares, ECM, and drop tanks).