Developed as a significant evolution of the F/A-18 Hornet, the Super Hornet first flew towards the end of 1995, and entered US Navy service four years later. Achievement of the aircraft's initial operational capability followed in 2001, and its combat debut occurred just over a year later as part of Operation 'Southern Watch' no-fly enforcement efforts over Iraq. A multi-role air-to-air and air-to-ground platform, the single-seat F/A-18E and two-seat F/A-18F variants have since seen heavy engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aircraft is also in service with the Royal Australian Air Force, while an electronic attack variant, the EA-18G Growler, is used by both Super Hornet operators as well.
Photo credit: Ben Dunnell