Alternative Cold War History 1994

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FA-18 Hornet

F/A-18 Hornet

The F/A-18 was fast turning into a success story for the USN but the initial ‘A’ model came with some controversy and was a compromise of requirements.  It was not as good as the F-14 in the Air to Air role, and it did not have the bomb load or range of the A-6’s or A-7’s it was supposed to replace.  Nonetheless; it was modern, agile, quicker to repair and much cheaper to operate than the F-14, and it could drop bombs almost as good as an A-6, just not as many. To a cash strapped navy however, it was a solution to many problems, primarily because it was capable of fulfilling multiple roles. In Northern Fury this was even more important as the Navy was required to maintain more ships, and more Aircraft Carriers and therefore more Air Wings. So the retirement of the A-6 was accelerated as was the procurement of the F/A-18.

The airframe was also an international sales success with Canada, Australia, Spain and Kuwait already operating it and several others in negotiations.

The ramp up in tensions equated to an extension of F/A-18 production to equip an additional CVW and ensure there were enough capable airframes available.  In total Northern Fury has 10 additional VFA (USN Fighter Attack) squadrons and the USMC has 5 additional VMFA (USMC Fighter Attack) squadrons. Total production of F/A-18’s is up by 120 airframes over the historic figure.  Further the older ‘A’ model which was limited to using the Aim-7 Sparrow missile is being upgraded to the ‘C’ model which can use the much more capable Aim-120 AMRAAM missile. Later ‘C’ models (delivered from 1989) are equipped with improved night attack capabilities.

In the Northern Fury world there are some alterations to historical production detailed here:

  • Procurement of F/A-18A & B (2 seat) models was extended slightly to acquire 70 additional airframes for a total of 480.

  • Procurement of F/A-18C & D (2 seat) models was extended with an additional 320 ordered and 50 delivered by the start of Northern Fury for a total of 440 so far. The remainder, bringing the total to 760 will be delivered by the end of 1996.

  • Procurement of USMC F/A-18D (N) – Night attack capable with the rear seat configured for a Weapon & Sensor Officer (WSO) remained steady at 96

  • Therefore, instead of 896 airframes (410 ‘A’ + 390 ‘C’ + 96 ‘C(N)’), Northern Fury starts with 1,016 F/A-18s. (+70 ‘A’, +50 ‘C’ models)

  • The additional production enabled the early retirement of the A-6E by the end of 1994

  • Foreign production of CF-18 (Canada), AF-18 (Australia), EF-18 (Spain) and F/A-18C for Kuwait are complete.

  • Foreign orders for Switzerland and South Korea are ongoing.

  • Foreign order for Finland has not been entertained.

  • F/A-18C & D production generally proceeded as originally planned, allowing the flow through of A models to the USMC and Reserve.

  • Ongoing refit of older production ‘A’ models to ‘C’ models is ongoing at the rate of 12/month and includes life extension.

  • Upgrade from later production ‘A’ model to the ‘C’ model, less life extension but enabling the use of AMRAAMs requires a software and minor hardware changes.

USN Squadrons are equipped as follows:

Sqn Name CVW No. Type Remarks
VFA-15 Valions CVW-8 12 F/A-18C USS T Roosevelt
VFA-22 Fighting Redcocks CVW-11 12 F/A-18C USS Abraham Lincoln
VFA-25 Fist of the Fleet CAW-14 12 F/A-18C USS Carl Vinson
VFA-27 Royal Maces CVW-15 12 F/A-18A USS Kitty Hawk
VFA-37 Bulls CVW-3 12 F/A-18C USS Eisenhower
VFA-81 Sunliners CVW-17 12 F/A-18C USS Saratoga
VFA-82 Marauders CVW-17 12 F/A-18C USS Saratoga
VFA-83 Rampagers CVW-7 12 F/A-18C USS JF Kennedy
VFA-86 Sidewinders CVW-1 12 F/A-18C USS America
VFA-87 Golden Warriors CVW-8 12 F/A-18C USS T Roosevelt
VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes CVW-11 12 F/A-18C USS Abraham Lincoln
VFA-97 Warhawks CVW-15 12 F/A-18A USS Kitty Hawk
VFA-105 Gunslingers CVW-3 12 F/A-18C USS Eisenhower
VFA-106 Gladiators FRS 42 F/A-18A/C NAS Oceana
VFA-113 Stingers CAW-14 12 F/A-18C USS Carl Vinson
VFA-125 Rough Riders FRS 48 F/A-18A/C NAS Lenmoore
VFA-131 Wildcats CVW-7 12 F/A-18C USS JF Kennedy
VFA-132 Privateers CAW-6 12 F/A-18C USS Enterprise
VFA-136 Knighthawks CVW-1 12 F/A-18C USS America
VFA-136 Knight Hawks CVW-10 12 F/A-18C USS George Washington
VFA-137 Kestrels CAW-6 12 F/A-18A USS Enterprise
VFA-146 Blue Diamonds CVW-9 12 F/A-18C USS Nimitz
VFA-147 Argonauts CVW-9 12 F/A-18C USS Nimitz
VFA-151 Vigilantes CVW-2 12 F/A-18C USS Constellation
VFA-151 Chargers CVW-17 12 F/A-18C USS Saratoga
VFA-161 Chargers CVW-10 12 F/A-18C USS George Washington
VFA-192 Golden Dragons CVW-5 12 F/A-18C USS Independence
VFA-195 Dam Busters CVW-5 12 F/A-18C USS Independence
VFA-201 Hunters CVWR-20 12 F/A-18A JRB Fort Worth
VFA-203 Blue Dolphins CVWR-20 12 F/A-18A NAS Jacksonville
VFA-303 Golden Hawks CVWR-30 12 F/A-18C NAS Alameda
VFA-305 Lobos CVWR-30 12 F/A-18C NAS Los Alamitos

USMC Squadrons are equipped as follows:

Sqn Name Location No. Type Remarks
VMFA-115 Silver Eagles Med 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-122 Werewolves CVW 14 12 F/A-18A USS Carl Vinson
VMFA-251 Thunderbolts CVW 6 12 F/A-18A USS Enterprise
VMFA-312 Checkerboards CVW 3 12 F/A-18D(N) USS Eisenhower
VMFA-332 Polka Dots Cherry Pt 12 F/A-18D(N)
VMFA-451 Warlords Med 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-533 Hawks CVW 8 12 F/A-18D(N) USS T Roosevelt
VMFA-121 Green Knights El Toro 12 F/A-18C(N)
VMFA-212 Lancers Kaneohe 12 F/A-18C(N)
VMFA-224 Bengals Iwakuni 12 F/A-18D(N)
VMFA-225 Vikings El Toro 12 F/A-18D(N)
VMFA-232 Red Devils El Toro 12 F/A-18D(N)
VMFA-235 Death Angels Kaneohe 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-242 Bats Japan 12 F/A-18D(N)
VFMA-314 Black Knights CVW 11 12 F/A-18A USS Abe Lincoln
VMFA-323 Death Rattlers El Toro 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-333 Shamrocks Iwakuni 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-531 Grey Ghosts El Toro 12 F/A-18A
VMFAT-101 Sharpshooters El Toro 30 F/A-18A
VFMA-112 Cowboys Dallas 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-124 Wistling Death Ft Worth 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-131 Dimondbacks Willow Grv 8 F/A-18A
VMFA-133 Dragons Alameda 12 F/A-18A
VFMA-134 Smoke El Toro 3 F/A-18A
VMFA-142 Flying Gators Cecil Fd 8 F/A-18A
VFMA-321 Hell's Angels Andrews 12 F/A-18A
VMFA-322 Ftg Gamecocks Waymouth 12 F/A-18A