The McDonnell Douglas Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet is a twin-engine multi-role carrier-based aircraft. The “E” variant is single-seater while the “F” variant is a tandem-seat configuration. The “E” is a much larger, more advanced and more capable variant of the F/A-18C. The Super variant can carry a larger array of weapons as well as more of them and is capable of returning to the carrier while still carrying unspent munitions, a big savings in dollars. The first F/A-18E flight was in 1995 and began delivery to the USN in 1999.
Commissioned in 1949 as VF-871 “Griffins” and eventually became VFA-143 “Pukin” Dogs”. In 2005 VF-143 was re-equipped with the F/A-18E Super Hornet and became Strike Fighter Squadron VFA-143. Between 2009 and 2013 VFA-143 was assigned to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 2009 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower deployed for 6 months fighting enemy in Afghanistan. F/A-18E 166608 was the CAG aircraft assigned to Captain Scott Stearney but on November 18, 2009 this aircraft was flown by Commander Joe Barnes who completed his 1,000th arrested recovery.