The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels acrobatic flight show team has received its first F/A-18 Super Hornet test aircraft,media reported. The fighter is the first of 11 aircraft Boeing plans to deliver to the Navy this year and will be used for flight testing and evaluation.
The 1946-year-old flying team has flown the Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat, Grumman F8F-1 “Panda”, Grumman F9F-2 “Black Panther” and Grumman F9F-8 for the past 74 years. Cougar, Grumman F11F Tiger, McDonald Douglas F-4J Phantom II, Douglas A-4F “Skyhawk” and McDonald Douglas F/A-18A/B/C/D Bbethan.
In addition, Boeing will be in Jacksonville, Florida, Cecil Airport to modify the “Super Hornet.” The modifications include the removal of all weapons systems and associated hardware, the installation of a fuel tank for smoke-generating systems, the addition of a fuel system that enables fighter aircraft to fly back for long periods of time, and the addition of civilian-compatible navigation equipment and cameras. In addition, the aircraft’s center of gravity will change to make its fuselage more suitable for flight shows, while the iconic blue-and-yellow spray decoration will not be implemented until after the flight test.
“The Super Hornet is an iconic symbol of naval aviation excellence,” said retired admiral Pat Walsh, a former Blue Angel pilot and vice president of Service for Boeing’s U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. “