McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet began life as the Northrop YF-17 Cobra which lost the US Air Force’s lightweight fighter competition to what would eventually become the ubiquitous F-16. Chosen by the US Navy as a more survivable platform with two engines, the F/A-18A Hornet entered operational service first with the US Marine Corps in 1983. The Hornet is a multi-role combat aircraft capable of conducting various missions from both the land and sea. During 1987 the Hornet was upgraded with new weapons, radar and avionics that improved the all-weather combat capability of the aircraft, these aircraft were designated the F/A-18C. The F/A-18C still serves with the US Marine Corps but has now been replaced in US Navy service by the larger F/A-18E Super Hornet and the F-35C Lightning II. In addition to the USA, seven other nations have operated the original “legacy” Hornet as it is now known.
Finland originally ordered 64 Hornets (57 C and 7D) in 1992 with deliveries commencing in 1995. All single seat C models were built in Finland and replaced the Saab Draken and MiG-21 featuring a more advanced self-protection jammer that the US Navy then installed in their Super Hornets. Initially, the Hornet in Finnish Air Force service was designated as the F-18C rather than F/A-18C to reflect their use in the air defence role only. The aircraft have been upgraded throughout their service life and in 2012 received a substantial stand-off air to ground capability.
As one of NATO’s newest members, Finland will be providing a single Hornet for static display at this year’s Air Tattoo from to take part in our celebration of the 75th anniversary of the organisation. The aircraft will be provided by HävLLv 11 who are based at Rovaniemi in Lapland.
Photo Credit: K Tokunaga