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Boeing F/A-18 Hornet

Combat aircraft
Place of operation

Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas Corporation (Boeing)
Cooperation: Northrop Corporation
Commenced service: 1997
Number of aircraft procured: 34
Number of aircraft still in service: 30 (as per September 2016)

Boeing F/A-18C Hornet:
J-5001 till J-5026 (26 aircraft)
Boeing F/A-18D Hornet: J-5231 till J-5238 (8 aircraft)

The main reason the Swiss Air Force chose the F/A-18 Hornet after a thorough evaluation was the top performance of this aircraft. The Hornet has a very short reaction time from its alert position, very good aeroplane performance and flying characteristics and is able to accelerate extremely fast, reaching sonic speed within seconds. Its extremely good manoeuvrability in curvilinear flight is important in aerial combat in visual flight conditions and is proven to be of the best worldwide.

Its high performance radar allows the F/A-18 to detect and simultaneously engage multiple low flying targets with its long-range guided missiles, by day and night and under bad weather conditions. The Hornet is also well tested in electronic warfare. This aircraft, developed to operate from aircraft carriers, is very well suited for our mountainous regions and narrow valleys as well as our short runways.

From October 1996 on, the hornets left the assembly bays at Emmen. Delivery was completed by the end of 1999. Squadron 17 was the first front squadron to retrain to the Hornet from June 1997 on, followed in the spring of 1998 by Squadron 18. Last but not least, retraining was concluded by Dübendorf based Squadron 11, in 1999. These three squadrons are part of the Surveillance Wing (Ueberwachungsgeschwader).

Technical data  
Engine: 2 General Electric F404-GE-402 turbofans
Maximum thrust without afterburner 10,440 daN (each 5'220 daN)
Maximum thrust with afterburner 15,660 daN (each 7'830 daN)
Unladen weight : 11,325 kg
Max. take-off mass (MTOM): 23,590 kg
Max. take-off mass (MTOM) unloaded: 16,100 kg
Length: 17.1 m
Height: 4.6 m
Wing span: 11.7 m
Thrust-to-mass ratio: 1.07
Max. speed at sea level: 1,330+ km/h
Max. Mach: 1.8+
Service ceiling: 16,000+ m
Radar: APG-73
Armament: 1 20mm M61A1 Gatling cannon
Air-to-air: 2 AIM-9X Sidewinders
4 AIM-120B AMRAAM (LL Lwf AIM-120B) or AIM-120C-7
Hard points: 9, up to 6,400 kg
Hard points for loads: Air-to-air missiles, drop tanks, travel pod, FPR pod
Internal equipment: Mission computer, ECM, chaff/flare dispensers, ATFLIR (Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared)