Navy Honors F
Navy Honors F/A-18 for 35
Years of Distinction
From Program Executive Office for
Tactical Aircraft Public Affairs Office.
Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland --
September 12, 2013 -- (NNS)
-- The F/A-18 Hornet community celebrated the 35th anniversary of the aircraft's
first flight during a ceremony Dec. 9 in the Rear Adm. William A. Moffett
building atrium at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
Sponsored by the F/A-18 and EA-18G Program Office (PMA-265),
the celebration highlighted the accomplishments and continued impact of the U.S.
Navy's longest running tactical aircraft program.
An F/A-18F Super Hornet (VFA) 32, launches from the
flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)
"The F/A-18 and EA-18G program continues to thrive, it is by
far the predominant tactical force for naval aviation," said Capt. Frank Morley,
PMA-265 program manager, "and it will continue to be for many years to come."
Originally designed to replace the F-4 Phantom and the A-7
Corsair II, the F/A-18 Hornet took its first flight Nov. 18, 1978. Today, the
F/A-18 platform, including the Hornet, Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, operate
in 44 Navy and 11 Marine Corps Strike Fighter and Electronic Attack Squadrons
Since its maiden voyage 35 years ago, the F/A-18 family of
aircraft has flown 8,692,167 flight hours averaging nearly 250,000 flights hours
per year since the historic journey.
"The success of this program rests on the shoulders of many
that have come before us, and many that have spent a lifetime supporting this
program," Morley said during the ceremony.
The ceremony's keynote speaker, retired Vice Adm. Jeffrey A.
Wieringa, shared a number of "sea" stories based on his experience as a past
program manager (April 2000 to May 2003).
"I became a naval aviator in 1977 - just one year before the
Hornet entered into service," said Wieringa. "So, you could say that both the
F/A-18 and I earned our wings right about the same time."
Rear Adm. Donald (B.D.) Gaddis, Program Executive Officer for
Tactical Aircraft Programs (PEO(T)), also shared thoughts about his time as
PMA-265's program manager and what he believes has made the F/A-18 and EA-18G
program so successful.
"We have always had very, very good leadership inside the
Hornet industry team, PMA-265 and in the competencies," said Gaddis. "That
successful culture is going to keep us flying as a team until probably 2030 or
The ceremony was followed by a luncheon and tours of Hangar
201, home of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23. Four static aircraft
displays were on exhibition, each representing an iteration of the F/A-18.
Boeing also provided guests the opportunity to "fly" the F/A-18 Super Hornet via
its mobile simulator.
For more information about the F/A-18 Hornet, Super Hornet
and EA-8G Growler, visit the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) website.
Editor's note: Flight hours as of Sept. 1, 2013, average
flight hours determined by number of years and total flight hours since 1978.
For more news from Naval Air Systems Command, visit