Lon Nordeen provides an overview of the Block III F/A-18 Super Hornet, a fighter destined to take its part in the future of US naval aviation
MILITARY BLOCK III SUPER HORNET
America’s naval aviation has long struggled with a shortfall of strike fighters, particularly for its carriers. The US Navy’s solution is to sustain a declining number of classic Hornets, deploy US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadrons in some carrier air wings, and buy more Super Hornets and F-35Cs to replace the classic Hornets. However, F/A-18 Hornets have been worn out by continuous deployments and an inventory that fell short as depot repair programmes failed to produce planned results. Classic F/A-18 Hornet squadrons are all but gone, having transitioned or being in the process of transitioning to the Super Hornet; one unit is currently working up on the F-35C Lightning. However, the F-35C will not deploy on a carrier until 2021 and the type’s ramp-up will be gradual.