Super Hornet flies aboard
Navy's newest aircraft carrier

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movie of F/A-18F first cat shot from the deck of USS John C. Stennis QuickTime movie of F/A-18F first cat shot from the deck of USS John C. Stennis (This movie is more than 1.6 MB)

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The Navy's newest strike-fighter aircraft, the F/A 18F Super Hornet makes its first carrier based catapult launch Jan. 18 from USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), in waters off the coast of North Carolina. The aircraft was piloted by Navy Cmdr. Tom Gurney of Bethesda, Md. U.S. Navy Photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Thomas Hensely. Hi-Rez photo
ABOARD USS JOHN C. STENNIS -- The U.S. Navy's newest, multi-mission strike fighter, the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, made its first aircraft carrier landing Saturday, Jan. 18, aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) underway 140 miles off the coast of Cherry Point, N.C.

Lieut. Frank Morley, of Miami, Fla., youngest pilot in the Super Hornet test program, has been with the test program since June of last year and made the first arrested landings and catapult launches during Super Hornet's initial sea trials. Lieut. Morley shares the responsibility of flight testing Super Hornet aboard John C. Stennis with Cmdr. Tom Gurney, of Bethesda, Md. These sea trials will continue over two weeks and will demonstrate Super Hornet's ability to operate from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

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Lieut. Frank Morley, of Miami, Fla., brings the Super Hornet in for its first carrier based arrested landing on the deck of the John C. Stennis Jan. 18 off the coast of North Carolina. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Michael L. Larson. Hi-Rez photo

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"Super Hornet handled just great ... just as it has throughout the flight test program," said Morley. "We are enjoying this opportunity to share Super Hornet and its successes with the fleet."

These firsts mark another success for the multi-mission Super Hornet which can fly further and carry more weapons than its predecessor and is fully 800 pounds under weight. During its first year of a three-year flight test program Super Hornet has remained on schedule and within its budget, and has met or exceeded all Navy and contractor expectations.

"It's a great day for the Navy and Naval Aviation," said Adm. Jay Johnson, Chief of Naval Operations. "It is the right plane at the right time to lead Naval Aviation into the 21st Century. Super Hornet will help sustain operational primacy and add a great offensive punch to the forward deployed aircraft carrier battle groups of tomorrow."

The Super Hornet flight test program has already logged 586 flight hours at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., home of the Navy's premier flight test facility. McDonnell Douglas, the new aircraft's prime contractor, will build a thousand F/A-18 E/Fs for the Navy through 2015.

The Super Hornet replaces the A-6 Intruder which ends active naval service in February, and is the programmed replacement for the F-14 Tomcat air superiority fighter. Super Hornet is an evolutionary upgrade of the combat-proven F/A18-C/D, and is built by an industry team led by McDonnell Douglas, Northrop Grumman, General Electric and Hughes. Super Hornet is fully capable to conduct both air-to air and air-to-ground combat missions. Improvements include increases in fuel capacity, engine power, mission radius (40%), weapons stations, aircraft surface area (25%), and its ability to remain on station during typical combat air patrol scenarios. The new Super Hornet has been developed on time and under budget.