The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic twin engine all-weather night fighter and attack aircraft. The F/A-18s first flew in November 1978 and the first production flight on April 12, 1980. The first 380 aircraft were F/A-18As and in September 1987 production switched to the F/A-18C. Variants A and C are single-seat aircraft while B and D are tandem-seats. The Hornet can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases with the capability of in flight refueling. A total of 1,480 A-D variants were built.
In early 1997 the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM - Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia) received the first four F/A-18Ds followed by four more in August 1997. Malaysia is the first Southeast Asian nation to receive the F/A-18D. These aircraft would equip the newly formed No. 18 Squadron (Hornets) stationed at the former RAF Butterworth AB. Since the F/A-18Ds are multi-role aircraft they would be used for ground and maritime strikes as well as air-to-air missions. Ironically the aircraft first arrived with the Malaysian national insignia painted incorrectly.