Hobby Master HA5118b F/A-18F Advanced Super Hornet 168492, US Navy, 2013 1/72
Hobby Master HA5118b 1/72nd F/A-18F Advanced Super Hornet 168492, US Navy, 2013 with center-line weapons pod three fuel tanks and a full weapons load
In order to replace their aging EA-6B Prowlers the USN acquired a specialized version of the F/A- 18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler. The Growler is an advanced airborne electronic attack aircraft capable of tactical jamming and electronic protection. The first EA-18G Growler flight took place in August 2006 with the first USN production aircraft being delivered to VAQ129 in June 2008. After operational capability testing full production of the EA-18G Growler began in late 2009. In 2010 VAQ-132, 138 and 141 were re-equipped with the Growler.
On August 5, 2013 the F/A-18F Advanced Super Hornet prototype (BuNo 168492) completed its maiden flight. Produced by Boeing and Northrop Grumman the ASH received engines increasing performance from 22,000 pounds to 26,400 pounds of thrust per engine. Conformal fuel tanks were added to carry 3,500 pounds of fuel. There is provision for an Enclosed Weapons Pod (EWP) carrying 2,500 pounds of weapons internally and the cockpit is updated. The aircraft was given a special paint to reduce radar cross-section making it more stealthy and capable of performing well into the 2030s.