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F/A-18 Hornet: 20th Anniversary of first Flight

Who flies the F/A-18?

In the United States, the Hornet operates in 37 tactical squadrons and from 10 aircraft carriers for the Navy. It is also flown by the Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron. The U.S. Marine Corps operates 10 active and four reserve squadrons using F/A-18A and C models and six F/A-18D squadrons. The Marines fly the F/A-18D not only as a strike fighter, but also as a Forward Air Controller (Airborne)/Tactical Air Controller (Airborne) and tactical reconnaissance aircraft.

Canada was the Hornet's first international customer, and its fleet of 138 F/A-18 aircraft is the largest outside the United States. Some of those aircraft also fought in Desert Storm. Canada is currently planning an aircraft modernization program to significantly upgrade the aircraft's avionics.

The Royal Australian Air Force took first delivery of its 75 F/A18-A and B models on October 29, 1984. Some of the aircraft were later built in Australia from kits.

The Air Force of Spain was the Hornet’s first European customer, ordering 72 A and B models. They currently have plans to upgrade.

The Kuwait Air Force ordered 40 C and D models in 1988. Although the Gulf War delayed delivery, the first ferry of Kuwaiti Hornets was delivered in January 1992.

The Swiss Air Force ordered kits for 32 C and D Hornets in 1988, and Finland ordered 64 aircraft for its Air Force in 1992, which are being produced through Boeing subcontractor Finavitec.

The first of 8 Malaysian Hornets, a two-seat F/A-18D, was delivered in ceremonies on March 19, 1997.