The first sting, 41 years ago

U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archive 428-GX-K-118818. Photographed by PH2 James C. Brown

Here we see a parked YF-17A/F-18 Prototype aircraft aboard Naval Air Station, Miramar, San Diego, California. October 28, 1977

Offical caption: “McDonnell Douglas Corporation, with Northrop as principal subcontractor, is building the F-18 Hornet for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. When the F-18 joins the fleet, it will replace both the F-4 Phantom II for fighter escort and the A-7 Corsair II in light attack missions.”


Since being adopted, some 1,480 ‎F/A-18A/B/C/Ds were built for the U.S., Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Australia, Kuwait, Malaysia, and Spain with production ending in August 2000. The line has been replaced by the larger and more sophisticated E/F series.

The U.S. Navy is in the process of retiring these early model Hornets, having completed their last carrier deployment in March. Reportedly, Allied operators are looking to do the same in coming years, with even the youngest F-18s pushing age 20, and many (Marines, talking to you) almost twice that.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “The first sting, 41 years ago”

  1. FTB1(SS) says :

    I was living in Ogden, UT at the time (home of Hill AFB). The USAF really wanted the F-16, so all we heard on the local news and in conversations was how fantastic the F-16 was and how terrible the YF-17 was.

    Guess time tells, eh?

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