The US Navy’s Blue Angels demonstration squadron has welcomed their first blue and gold F/A-18 Super Hornet at Naval Air Station Pensacola, marking the start of the squadron’s transition from Hornets to Super Hornets.
This is the first of a total 11 Super Hornets scheduled to be delivered this year.
The flight demonstration squadron has flown Boeing or Boeing-heritage aircraft for more than 50 years, starting with the F-4J Phantom II in 1969, and then moving to the A-4F Skyhawk. The team currently operates the F/A-18A-D Hornet.
Boeing is converting F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets into Blue Angels at the company’s Cecil Field facility in Jacksonville, Florida. Major modifications include the addition of an oil tank for the smoke-generation system, fuel systems that enable the aircraft to fly inverted for extended periods of time, civilian-compatible navigation equipment, cameras and adjustments for the aircraft’s center of gravity.
Capt. Eric Doyle, Director of the Blue Angels Super Hornet Transition Team, departed Boeing Cecil field for Naval Air Station Pensacola, in the first Blue Angels Super Hornet on July 27.
“Acquiring our first Super Hornet is a momentous step in our inevitable transition scheduled for later this year and it required a herculean effort to get these fleet jets ready for our team,” said Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, commanding officer and flight leader of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
“We would like to especially thank the teams at Boeing, Chief of Naval Air Training Command, Naval Air Systems Command, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, and Naval Supply Systems Command Weapons Systems Support.”
The Blue Angels are slated to transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet later this year after using the F/A-18 Hornet for 34 years.