Keeping the ‘legacy’ alive

A brace of VMFA(AW)-225 Hornets head to the range with inert ‘dumb’ bombs. The ‘Vikings’ are one of four remaining marine all-weather fi ghter attack squadrons fl ying the two-seat F/A-18D. The ‘Vikings’ plan to trade their D-models for F-35Bs in FY 2020. Below: A VMFAT-101 pilot returns from a mission at Miramar. The ‘Sharpshooters’ is the fl eet readiness squadron (FRS), fl ying different models of ‘legacy’ Hornet – namely the F/A-18A++, B, C and D – and wearing the ‘SH’ tail code. VMFAT-101 trains USMC Hornet pilots and WSOs as well as US Navy aircrew, including maintainers and ordnance personnel.
All photos Jamie Hunter unless stated

The US Navy has now withdrawn the firstgeneration F/A-18 (F/A-18A through to D, often known as the ‘legacy’ or ‘heritage’ Hornet) from frontline service, but it does retain a significant fleet in reserve, adversary, test and training roles, and with the Blue Angels display team. Upgrades and modifications undertaken by the navy in recent years will enable the type to remain viable in US Marine Corps service.

The US

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