McDonnell Douglas FA-18A Hornet Adversary Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Plane Details

Mission: Carrier-based, all-weather fighter/attack; Close-air support; Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD); fighter escort; air interdiction; aerial reconnaissance
Introduction Date: 1981
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas Corporation; St. Louis, MO
Bureau Number: 163152
Fighter Training in VMFAT 101

F/A-18A  Hornet – VMFAT-101:

This aircraft bears the paint scheme of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 101. This unit is currently based at MCAS Miramar. The purpose of this group is to train replacement aircrews (RAC) for the F/A-18 Hornet.

The 44 week training program teaches new pilots how to use the F/A-18 in various combat scenarios. It is broken up into four phases.

Phase 1 is called “Transition.” This focuses on aircraft procedures like Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) knowledge, aircraft combat systems, navigation, night flying, formation flying, and basic radar intercepts.

Phase 2 is called “Strike.” This covers basic dive bombing, low-altitude tactics, high-altitude target attacks, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) employment, close air support, and night vision goggle flight. In other words, this phase focuses on teaching pilots how to use the Hornet in ground attack missions.

Phase 3 is called “Air to Air.” In this phase, students learn how to dogfight in the F/A-18 in basic fighter maneuvers (BFM).
Phase 4 is called “Carrier Qualification.” This is an intense period where pilots practice landing on aircraft carriers. Once they have finished their final tests in this phase, pilots are assigned to fleet squadrons.

This F/A-18A was first delivered in 1987 to Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) at MCAS El Toro, California. It spent time in the U.S. Navy with the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron 125 (VFA-125) at NAS Lemoore, CA, before returning to the Marine Corps with the “Grey Ghosts” of VMFA-531 back at MCAS El Toro. ‘152 did another tour with VMFA-314 before moving to MCAS Miramar with VMFAT-101 in 2000. On April 4, 2005 this aircraft was struck from inventory and towed to this museum. It is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL.


Length: 56 ft, 0 in
Wing Span: 37 ft, 6 in
Height: 15 ft, 4 in

Max Speed: 1,134 kts (1,305 mph)
Rate of climb: 44,300 ft/min
Ceiling: 50,000 ft
Range: 2,001 nm (2,303 mi)
Powerplant: 2 × General Electric F404-GE-400
Thrust: 10,600 lbs each, dry; 16,016 lbs each, AB

Cannon: M61 20mm Vulcan – 570 rounds
Missiles: AIM-9L/M Sidewinder;
AIM-7F Sparrow;
AGM-62 Walleye;
AGM-65 Maverick;
AGM-84 Harpoon;
Rockets: 5 in. Zuni Rocket Pod
Bombs: MK-82 500 lb GP;
MK-83 1,000 lb GP;
MK-84 2,000 lb GP;
GBU-10, 12, 16 Paveway;
MK-20 Rockeye II Cluster;
CBU-59 BLU-77 Cluster;
CBU-78 BLU-91/BLU-92 Cluster;
MK-77 750 lb Incendiary

External Stations: 9 – 6 wing, 3 fuselage
13,700 lbs total load

Crew: 1 pilot

McDonnell Douglas FA-18A Hornet Adversary at the Flying Leatherneck Historical Aviation Museum San Diego