The fascinating true story of the controversial development and deployment of the supersonic fighter jet that changed aerial warfare forever
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was born in 1978, a state-of-the-art supersonic fighter and attack aircraft with a top speed of Mach 1.8, more than one thousand miles per hour. It was versatile, fast, and reliable, and no war machine in the air could match it. The marines adopted it first, followed by the navy, impressed by its incomparable ability to engage in close aerial combat while at the same time efficiently delivering explosive payloads to designated enemy targets. It became the aircraft of choice for the US Navy’s famous Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron in 1986 and served ably in combat from its first mission—America’s launched air strike against Libya that same year—through 1991’s Operation Desert Storm and well beyond. Yet the Hornet has always been shrouded in controversy, and while still in its planning stages, it sparked an unprecedented political battle that nearly doomed the miraculous machine before it could take flight.
Orr Kelly, the acclaimed military author who has notably chronicled the remarkable histories of the US Navy SEALs and other branches of America’s Special Forces, tells the fascinating true story of the F/A-18 Hornet—how it came to be, how it almost wasn’t, and how it forever altered the way our nation’s wars are fought.