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

What's the difference between F/A-18A and F/A-18B, C, D, E and F?

All Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft are designed, with a flip of the switch, to fly both air-to-air missions (fighter) and air-to-ground missions (attack), so all models of the aircraft are designated F/A-18. The last letter of the model designates whether it is one-seat or two and what kind of engines and other equipment it carries. The F/A-18A is a one-seat aircraft, and the F/A-18B is its two-seat version, for example.

The single-seat F/A-18C and the two-seat F/A-18D both carry an enhanced electronic countermeasures system and two of the most advanced U.S. missiles: the infrared-imaging, air-to-surface Maverick and the advanced, medium-range, air-to-air missile (AMRAAM). They first flew in 1987.

The Super Hornet, designated F/A-18E (one-seat) and F/A18-F (two-seat), is 25 percent larger but has only about half as many parts. It offers longer range, greater endurance, more payload-carrying ability, more powerful engines, increased carrier bringback capability, and enhanced survivability. Now in low-rate initial production and flight test, the Super Hornet is expected to enter the fleet in 2001 with production continuing through 2015.