|Engines||General Electronics FE404-GE-400|
The F-18 would first begin its life as the YF-17 Cobra, a contender to the YF-16 Viper. Both TSFs were part of the Lightweight Tactical Surface Fighter program, but despite the YF-16's victory and its subsequent development into the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the US Navy had concerns about the F-16's operating time, load capacity, and maintainability. McDaell Doglam eventually took over development of the YF-17, refining it into the multi-purpose F-18 Hornet which is later adopted by the US Navy.
Although the F-14 Tomcat was the main TSF of the US Navy, the decision to retire it was in part due to its poor cost-to-performance ratio; each sortie required costly maintenance to its systems, and that was before factoring in the cost of its specialized AIM-54 Phoenix. The F-18's performance was close to the F-15 Eagle for a lower operational cost per TSF and greater versatility than the F-16, making it popular for export to other countries such as Australia.
The F-18 was operated by both the US Navy and various nations, with the US Navy switching to the F-18E/F Super Hornet in 1994. F-18s are still operated by Australia, Nepal, and many other nations, and a flight of F-18s are operated by an Australian experimental unit at Yukon Base in Alaska as part of Project PROMINENCE.
The prototype used for the F-18's development. It eventually lost to the YF-16 Viper in the Lightweight Tactical Surface Fighter competition.
F-18E/F Super HornetEdit
|F-18E/F Super Hornet|
A F-18E in USMC colors.
|Engines||General Electronics FE414-GE-400|
|Armament(s)||AMWS-21 Combat System|
CIWS-1A Close Combat Knife
|Appearance(s)||The Day After, Total Eclipse, TSFIA|
A redesigned Hornet developed by McDaell Doglam, the Super Hornet achieved 2.5th generation status due to various improvements to its operating time and systems.
The head module was expanded to accommodate improved sensors and avionics, its shoulder units are expanded to house large thrusters, and its hip block and lower legs are expanded to extend operating time, defensive ability, and carrying load. Once again, with efficiency similar to its equivalent, the F-15E Strike Eagle, and at a lower cost, the Super Hornet was established as the flagship machine of the US Marine Corps and US Navy, and is also exported to COSEAN, Australia, and Africa.
Northrock later sued McDaell Doglam over the production of the Super Hornet, claiming it had not given permission for production of F-18 variants. Production was eventually taken over by Boening after its merger with McDaell Doglam.
The USMC uses the single seat F-18E model while the US Navy utilizes the two-seater F-18F; notable examples include the USMC's VMF-318 Black Knives and VMF-536 Bloody Nightmare squadron as F-18E users, and the USN's VF-133 Raging Busters squadron as F-18F users.
The Super Hornets of VMF-536 Bloody Nightmare would be deployed as strike units, operating in tandem with other squadrons of the US Marine Corps' 26th TSF Wing to run herd-thinning operations in Europe in April 2000. Garuda Test Flight of COSEAN also operated Super Hornets for the duration of Project PROMINENCE and the Blue Flag exercises.
Its well-deserved reputation as a reliable unit is such that in 2004, the Imperial Navy of Japan is considering replacing its Type-77s with Super Hornets to expand its fleetborne fighting capabilities.
In The Day After, the F-18E/F is featured as one of the primary TSFs of the US Armed Forces; the rising of sea levels during Operation Babylon meant that the majority of overseas US TSFs that survived the sudden disasters were those that were already stored on carriers or in assault ships. Operated by the Black Knives and Raging Busters squadrons, twelve Super Hornets defended the stranded USS John F. Kennedy from a BETA attack on July 2nd, 2004, proving its reputation as a 2.5th generation TSF through its performance.
F-18Es of the newly-reformed Black Knives squadron, under the command of Lieutenant Lilia Kjellberg, were also present at the Defence of Seattle, fighting alongside the F-18Fs of the US Navy, the 66th Tactical Armored Battalion Hunter and the IJMDF's 1st Tactical Armor Regiment. The Black Knives would later provide unauthorized aid to the 1st Tactical Armor Regiment during the Seattle Food Plant Hijack on December 23rd, 2005, and together with the F-18Fs of US Navy units, would participate alongside US Army and Imperial Army forces during the 8th Border War on December 24th, 2005 against the French/Canadian alliance.
|F-CK-1 Ching-kuo |
|Role||Localized Production TSF|
|Engines||General Electronics FE-404-GE-400|
The F-CK-1 Ching-kuo is a 2nd generation TSF developed by Taiwan, based on the requirement of running culling operations across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan chose the F-18's base design over the F-16's for its superior operating time and versatility.
To further extend the F-CK-1's operational range, its upgrades (similar to the F-18E/F Super Hornet's) include a lightened frame and enlarged leg fuel tanks.
- The real-life designation of the baseline Hornet and Super Hornet is F/A-18 instead of F-18, the "A" denoting its secondary ground-attack role in aerial-based warfare. However, actual F-18 variants of the Hornet, without the "A" designation, do exist, although the same cannot be said of the Super Hornet.
- Most of the background on the TSF Super Hornet is actually taken from the background of the real-life Hornet. For example, the real-life US Marines only use the older F/A-18 Hornet, not the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, as they plan to eventually adopt the F-35B Lightning II.
- The real life F-CK-1 Ching-kuo is unrelated to the F/A-18, but to the F/A-16 and F/A-17 as the designer of the F-CK-1 wanted to build a fighter that has similar fighting capability to them, and the F-CK-1 program got the full technological support of the United States. Note that F/A-17 failed in the competition againest the F/A-16 and later became what the project of F/A-18 is based on.
- In the non-canonical Euro Front fanbook, titled Mogthrasir Zwei, F-18E/Fs were seen with fully-operable AIM-54 Phoenix Missile Systems, replacing their Mount Pylons on the TSF's back hardpoints.