The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet is an American, twin-engine, multirole fighter, originally designed as a naval fighter. It is Boeing’s candidate in the HX Fighter Programme, which aims to replace the capabilities of the current fighter fleet of the Finnish Air Force.
The Super Hornet is developed from the McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18 C/D Hornet – nowadays referred to as Legacy Hornet – which is also the current fighter of the Finnish Air Force. Although the Super Hornet shares many characteristics with its predecessor, it is largely a new aircraft. Physically it resembles the Legacy Hornet, although being larger. There is also a twin-seat version of the Super Hornet (the F/A-18F) and a variant designed for electronic warfare, the EA-18G Growler.
The U. S. Navy ordered an updated version for the F/A-18 Fighter from McDonnell-Douglas in the early 1990s. The Super Hornet flew its maiden flight in 1995, and serial production was started in 1997. In August the same year, McDonnell-Douglas merged with its rival Boeing. The first Super Hornets were introduced into service in the U. S. Navy Air Force in 1999, replacing the aging Grumman F-14 Tomcat. The new plane was first used in combat operations in 2002, in Iraq.
In addition to its manufacturing country, the Super Hornet is also used in Australia. The Royal Australian Air Force got its first Super Hornets in 2010, to replace the aging General Dynamics F-111C fighters.
In 2013, Boeing unveiled a developed version of the Super Hornet, the Advanced Super Hornet. The new version has been developed together with Northrop Grumman.