Aug 13, 2014

Why F/A-18F Super Hornets dropped the first U.S. bombs in Iraq

When the U.S. military launched its first airstrikes in Iraq in three years on Friday, it was F/A-18F Super Hornets flying off the USS George H.W. Bush that carried the mission out. That’s no accident, defense officials and analysts say. The aircraft is used for the Navy’s “forward air controller-airborne” mission, meaning it is more effective in surveying the battlefield, identifying targets and painting them with lasers for bombs.
The George Bush has three other Hornet squadrons on board: the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Strike Squadron 31, the “Valions” of Fighter Strike Squadron 15 and the “Golden Warriors of Fighter Strike Squadron 87, all of Oceana. The Tomcatters fly single-seat F/A-18Es, while the Valions and Golden Warriors fly older single-seat F/A-18Cs, Navy officials said. For other missions, the single-seat aircraft have some advantages, too: The weight of the second aviator’s body and ejection seat cut into the aircraft’s performance.

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