Hailing from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia, this year's F/A-18F Super Hornet is part of Strike Fighter Squadron 106 (VFA-106) known as the "Gladiators". The F/A-18F Super Hornet was developed, along with the E Model Super Hornet from the older F/A-18 Hornet models. The plane was planned back in the 80's by McDonnell Douglas under the project name "Hornet 2000". McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) decided to initially call it the "Hornet II" to improve early F/A-18 models and serve as an alternate replacement for the aging Grumman A-6 Intruder attack aircraft. The Navy had planned on getting a naval version of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which was the Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter.
However, that program was cancelled, so the "Super Hornet" was proposed. The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin engine, carrier-capable, multi-role fighter aircraft that is based off of the design of the F/A-18 Hornet. The aircraft was initially designed by McDonnell Douglas and first flew in 1995. Full-scale production began in 1997 and the Super Hornet entered service in 1999 to aid in replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The Super Hornet serves in the fleet alongside the Legacy model Hornets. While the Super Hornet and original Hornet share many similar characteristics, the Super Hornet is a beast in itself, coming in at 20% larger and 7,000 pounds (empty) heavier than the original F/A-18 models. In fact, the Super Hornet weighs only 11,000 pounds less than the massive F-14 Tomcat that it replaced. The Super Hornet is also designed for a heavier payload and higher range and is capable of refueling other aircraft via a system known as “buddy store”. In addition to it filling a tactical airborne tanker role, the aircraft has a payload almost matching the mighty Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
The Super Hornet is sometimes referred to as the “Rhino” to distinguish itself from the earlier model Hornets. The Super Hornet is powered by the General Electric F414 Engine, which provides the loud thunder that you will hear over Battle Creek. Those engines also help propel the aircraft to fly at speeds almost twice the speed of sound.
The Super Hornet is one of the most sought after military demonstrations on the air show circuit each year. In 2018, they are only performing at six different show sites. Battle Creek is proud to have been selected to showcase this amazing demonstration on June 30th, July 1st, July 3rd & July 4th.
US Navy TAC Demo Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Navy-Tac-Demo/140116396072816?fref=ts