* In the 1970s, the US Air Force conducted a "lightweight fighter" competition between the General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17 demonstrator aircraft. The General Dynamics entry won the contest, to go into service as the famous F-16, but the US Navy, which was looking for a fighter to replace the F-4 Phantom and A-7, found the YF-17 better suited to their requirements.
Northrop teamed with McDonnell Douglas (MDD) to build a carrier-based version of the YF-17, which emerged as the "F/A-18A/B Hornet". The Hornet is now the primary combat jet of the US Navy and Marine Corps, particularly in its improved "F/A-18C/D" form, and has been sold to several nations as a land-based fighter. It has also evolved into a "stretched" and beefed-up version, the "F/A-18E/F Super Hornet", which is now in service with the US Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force in the 21st century. This document provides a history and description of the Hornet and Super Hornet.