The arms industry known as the defense industry or the arms trade, is a global industry which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology. It consists of a commercial industry involved in the research and development, engineering and servicing of military material and facilities. Arms-producing companies referred to as arms dealers, defence contractors, or as the military industry, produce arms for the armed forces of states and for civilians. Departments of government operate in the arms industry and selling weapons and other military items. An arsenal is a place where arms and ammunition - whether or publicly owned - are made and repaired, stored, or issued, in any combination. Products of the arms industry include guns, ammunition, military aircraft, military vehicles, electronic systems, night-vision devices, holographic weapon sights, laser rangefinders, laser sights, hand grenades and more; the arms industry provides other logistical and operational support. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated military expenditures as of 2012 at $1.8 trillion.
This represented a relative decline from 1990, when military expenditures made up 4% of world GDP. Part of the money goes to the procurement of military hardware and services from the military industry; the combined arms-sales of the top 100 largest arms-producing companies amounted to an estimated $395 billion in 2012 according to SIPRI. In 2004 over $30 billion were spent in the international arms-trade. According to SIPRI, the volume of international transfers of major weapons in 2010–14 was 16 per cent higher than in 2005–2009; the five biggest exporters in 2010–2014 were the United States, China and France, the five biggest importers were India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Many industrialized countries have a domestic arms-industry to supply their own military forces; some countries have a substantial legal or illegal domestic trade in weapons for use by their own citizens for self-defence, hunting or sporting purposes. Illegal trade in small arms occurs in many regions affected by political instability.
The Small Arms Survey estimates that 875 million small arms circulate worldwide, produced by more than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries. Governments award contracts to supply their country's military; the link between politics and the arms trade can result in the development of what U. S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described in 1961 as a military-industrial complex, where the armed forces and politics become linked to the European multilateral defence procurement. Various corporations, some publicly held, others private, bid for these contracts, which are worth many billions of dollars. Sometimes, as with the contract for the international Joint Strike Fighter, a competitive tendering process takes place, with the decision made on the merits of the designs submitted by the companies involved. Other times, no bidding or competition takes place. During the early modern period, United Kingdom and some states in Germany became self-sufficient in arms production, with diffusion and migration of skilled workers to more peripheral countries such as Portugal and Russia.
The modern arms industry emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century as a product of the creation and expansion of the first large military-industrial companies. As smaller countries could no longer produce cutting-edge military equipment with their indigenous resources and capacity, they began to contract the manufacture of military equipment, such as battleships, artillery pieces and rifles to foreign firms. In 1854, the British government awarded a contract to the Elswick Ordnance Company of industrialist William Armstrong for the supply of his latest breech loading rifled artillery pieces; this galvanised the private sector into weapons production, with the surplus being exported to foreign countries. Armstrong became one of the first international arms dealers, selling his weapon systems to governments across the world from Brazil to Japan. In 1884, he opened a shipyard at Elswick to specialise in warship production—at the time, it was the only factory in the world that could build a battleship and arm it completely.
The factory produced warships for many navies, including the Imperial Japanese Navy. Several Armstrong cruisers played an important role in defeating the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima in 1905. In the American Civil War in 1861 the North had a distinct advantage over the south as it relied on using the breech-loading rifle against the muskets of the south; this began the transition to industrially produced mechanised weapons such as the Gatling gun. This industrial innovation in the defence industry was adopted by Prussia in 1866 & 1870-71 in its defeat of Austria and France respectively. By this time the machine gun had begun entering into the militaries; the first example of its effectiveness was in 1899 during the Boer War and in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese War. However, Germany were leaders in innovation of weapons and used this innovation nearly defeating the allies in World War I. In 1885, France decided to capitalize on this lucrative form of trade and repealed its ban on weapon exports.
The regulatory framework for the period up to the First World War was characterized by a laissez-faire policy that placed little obstruction in the way of weapons exports. Due to the carnage of World War I
Boeing Defense, Space & Security
Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a division of The Boeing Company based in Greater St. Louis, it is responsible for services. It was known as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. Boeing Integrated Defense Systems was formed in 2002 by combining the former "Military Aircraft and Missile Systems" and "Space and Communications" divisions. Boeing Defense, Space & Security makes Boeing the second-largest defense contractor in the world and was responsible for 45% of the company's income in 2011. Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a consolidated group which brought together major names in aerospace. Boeing Defense, Space & Security is headquartered in Greater St. Louis north of St. Louis Lambert International Airport in the northern St. Louis suburb of Berkeley, Missouri. There are significant operations in nearby communities, such as Hazelwood and St. Charles, it is one of the largest employers in Greater St. Louis with 13,707 local employees as of 2018. Other major locations of BDS are in Washington state.
Boeing chose to locate the defense systems offices in the St. Louis area because of the role of the space and aircraft programs of the former McDonnell Douglas location, bipartisan support from area politicians. Boeing BDS has been reorganized into the following subdivisions as of June 13, 2018: Autonomous Systems – Develops and produces autonomous platforms for sea and space domains, including the necessary software for remote piloting and supporting services; the Autonomous Systems portfolio includes Insitu and Liquid Robotics, two Boeing subsidiaries. Development – Enhances performance on key defense and space pre-production development programs by consolidating management and resources into one organization. Global Operations – Leads Defense, Space & Security’s international subsidiaries, seeks opportunities for additional global growth. Phantom Works – Creates and advances new products and capabilities by drawing on its expertise in innovation, advanced experimentation and prototyping.
Space and Missile Systems – The world’s largest satellite manufacturer offering strategic missile and defense systems, weapons systems and other space and intelligence systems. The division houses Boeing’s more than 60 years of space exploration expertise and manages Boeing’s share of United Launch Alliance and United Space Alliance. Strike and Mobility – Manages Boeing’s current and future portfolio of fixed-wing military and surveillance aircraft, including fighters and commercial derivative platforms, support of key platforms such as the executive transport fleet, which includes Air Force One. Vertical Lift – The world’s largest provider of military rotorcraft with a diverse portfolio of cargo and attack platforms. President: Leanne Caret CEO: Leanne Caret President of N&SS: Jim H. Chilton President of Phantom Works: Darryl W. DavisIn February 2016, Leanne Caret was named President and CEO of Defense, Space & Security, a division of The Boeing Company. In October 2016, Jim H. Chilton was appointed the President of Space Systems.
Boeing YB-9 Boeing XB-15 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Boeing XB-38 Flying Fortress Boeing YB-40 Flying Fortress Boeing C-108 Flying Fortress List of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress variants Boeing Y1B-20 Boeing B-29 Superfortress Boeing KB-29 Superfortress Boeing XB-39 Superfortress B-29 Superfortress variants Boeing B-47 Stratojet Boeing B-50 Superfortress Boeing B-52 Stratofortress Boeing B-54 Boeing XB-55 Boeing XB-56 Boeing XB-59 Boeing TB – torpedo bomber Boeing AH-6 Boeing AH-64 Apache Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook Boeing Chinook Boeing Vertol YUH-61 Boeing Vertol XCH-62 V-22 Osprey Quad TiltRotor RAH-66 Comanche and light attack helicopter, canceled SkyHook JHL-40 Boeing Model 15 Boeing F2B Boeing F3B Boeing XF6B Boeing XF8B Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle Boeing F-15SE Silent Eagle Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Boeing EA-18G Growler Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor Boeing GA-1 Boeing XP-4 Boeing XP-7 Boeing XP-8 Boeing XP-9 Boeing P-12 Boeing XP-15 Boeing P-26 Peashooter Boeing P-29 Boeing X-32, Boeing's entry for the Joint Strike Fighter Program Boeing Bird of Prey Boeing X-40 Boeing X-53 Active Aeroelastic Wing Boeing YC-14 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III Boeing C-22 Boeing VC-25 Boeing C-32 Boeing C-40 Clipper Boeing KC-46 Pegasus Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter Boeing C-127 Boeing C-135 Stratolifter Boeing EC-135 Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker Boeing NC-135 Boeing OC-135B Open Skies – Boeing RC-135 Boeing WC-135 Constant Phoenix Boeing C-137 Stratoliner Boeing CC-137 Boeing KC-767 Boeing Pelican Boeing Model 2 Boeing XAT-15 Boeing NB Boeing T-43 navigator trainer Boeing Skyfox Boeing T-X Boeing 737 AEW&C Boeing Model 42 Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Boeing E-3 Sentry Boeing E-4 Boeing E-6 Mercury Boeing E-767 Boeing P-8 Poseidon Boeing XPB Boeing XP3B Boeing XPBB Sea Ranger Boeing Model
ASSET, or Aerothermodynamic Elastic Structural Systems Environmental Tests was an experimental US space project involving the testing of an unmanned sub-scale reentry vehicle. Begun in 1960, ASSET was designed to verify the superalloy heat shield of the X-20 Dyna-Soar prior to full-scale manned flights; the vehicle's biconic shape and low delta wing were intended to represent Dyna-Soar's forward nose section, where the aerodynamic heating would be the most intense. Following the X-20 program's cancellation in December 1963, completed ASSET vehicles were used in reentry heating and structural investigations with hopes that data gathered would be useful for the development of future space vehicles, such as the Space Shuttle. Built by McDonnell, each vehicle was launched on a suborbital trajectory from Cape Canaveral's Pad 17B at speeds of up to 6,000 m/s before making a water landing in the South Atlantic near Ascension Island. A Scout launch vehicle had been planned for the tests, but this was changed after a large surplus of Thor and Thor-Delta missiles became available.
Of the six vehicles built, only one was recovered and is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. General characteristics Crew: None Length: 5.74 ft Wingspan: 4.57 ft Height: 2.73 ft Loaded weight: 1,190 lb Powerplant: × Hydrogen peroxide reaction control thrustersPerformance Maximum speed: Mach 25 Range: 2,700 miles Service ceiling: 50 miles Hypersonic L/D Ratio: 1:1 Molniya BOR-4 Martin X-23 PRIME In the mid-1960s, McDonnell proposed a variant of the Gemini capsule which retained the original spacecraft's internal subsystems and crew compartment, but dispensed with the tail-first ballistic reentry, parachute recovery and water landing. Instead, the vehicle would be modified externally into an ASSET-like lifting-reentry configuration. Post-reentry, a pair of stowed swing-wings would be deployed, giving the spacecraft sufficient L/D to make a piloted glide landing on a concrete runway using a skid-type landing gear, much like the Space Shuttle. According to Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica, the intent seems to have been to field a manned military spaceplane at a minimal cost following the cancellation of the Dyna-Soar program
Space is the boundless three-dimensional extent in which objects and events have relative position and direction. Physical space is conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime; the concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the physical universe. However, disagreement continues between philosophers over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework. Debates concerning the nature and the mode of existence of space date back to antiquity. Many of these classical philosophical questions were discussed in the Renaissance and reformulated in the 17th century during the early development of classical mechanics. In Isaac Newton's view, space was absolute—in the sense that it existed permanently and independently of whether there was any matter in the space. Other natural philosophers, notably Gottfried Leibniz, thought instead that space was in fact a collection of relations between objects, given by their distance and direction from one another.
In the 18th century, the philosopher and theologian George Berkeley attempted to refute the "visibility of spatial depth" in his Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision. The metaphysician Immanuel Kant said that the concepts of space and time are not empirical ones derived from experiences of the outside world—they are elements of an given systematic framework that humans possess and use to structure all experiences. Kant referred to the experience of "space" in his Critique of Pure Reason as being a subjective "pure a priori form of intuition". In the 19th and 20th centuries mathematicians began to examine geometries that are non-Euclidean, in which space is conceived as curved, rather than flat. According to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, space around gravitational fields deviates from Euclidean space. Experimental tests of general relativity have confirmed that non-Euclidean geometries provide a better model for the shape of space. Galilean and Cartesian theories about space and motion are at the foundation of the Scientific Revolution, understood to have culminated with the publication of Newton's Principia in 1687.
Newton's theories about space and time helped. While his theory of space is considered the most influential in Physics, it emerged from his predecessors' ideas about the same; as one of the pioneers of modern science, Galilei revised the established Aristotelian and Ptolemaic ideas about a geocentric cosmos. He backed the Copernican theory that the universe was heliocentric, with a stationary sun at the center and the planets—including the Earth—revolving around the sun. If the Earth moved, the Aristotelian belief that its natural tendency was to remain at rest was in question. Galilei wanted to prove instead that the sun moved around its axis, that motion was as natural to an object as the state of rest. In other words, for Galilei, celestial bodies, including the Earth, were inclined to move in circles; this view displaced another Aristotelian idea—that all objects gravitated towards their designated natural place-of-belonging. Descartes set out to replace the Aristotelian worldview with a theory about space and motion as determined by natural laws.
In other words, he sought a metaphysical foundation or a mechanical explanation for his theories about matter and motion. Cartesian space was Euclidean in structure—infinite and flat, it was defined as that. The Cartesian notion of space is linked to his theories about the nature of the body and matter, he is famously known for his "cogito ergo sum", or the idea that we can only be certain of the fact that we can doubt, therefore think and therefore exist. His theories belong to the rationalist tradition, which attributes knowledge about the world to our ability to think rather than to our experiences, as the empiricists believe, he posited a clear distinction between the body and mind, referred to as the Cartesian dualism. Following Galilei and Descartes, during the seventeenth century the philosophy of space and time revolved around the ideas of Gottfried Leibniz, a German philosopher–mathematician, Isaac Newton, who set out two opposing theories of what space is. Rather than being an entity that independently exists over and above other matter, Leibniz held that space is no more than the collection of spatial relations between objects in the world: "space is that which results from places taken together".
Unoccupied regions are those that could have objects in them, thus spatial relations with other places. For Leibniz space was an idealised abstraction from the relations between individual entities or their possible locations and therefore could not be continuous but must be discrete. Space could be thought of in a similar way to the relations between family members. Although people in the family are related to one another, the relations do not exist independently of the people. Leibniz argued that space could not exist independently of objects in the world because that implies a difference between two universes alike except for the location of the material world in
The McDonnell XP-67 "Bat" or "Moonbat" was a prototype for a twin-engine, long-range, single-seat interceptor aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces. Although the design was conceptually advanced, it was beset by numerous problems and never approached its anticipated level of performance; the project was cancelled. In 1940, the U. S. Army Air Corps issued Request for Proposal R-40C, requesting designs for a high-speed, long-range, high-altitude interceptor intended to destroy enemy bombers; the specifications were bold, encouraging manufacturers to produce radical aircraft that would outperform any existing fighter in the world at the time. The aerospace parts manufacturer McDonnell Aircraft, eager to begin manufacturing its own aircraft, responded to the proposal with drawings and specifications of the proposed Model I, which would be powered by an unusual geared drivetrain with a single Allison V-3420 engine buried in the fuselage powering twin wing-mounted pusher propellers in the wings.
However, 22 other manufacturers issued proposals to meet the Army's request. The Model I fell in 21st place when the 23 proposals were scored; the proposals that were accepted included the ill-fated XP-54, XP-55, XP-56. Despite the apparent setback, Air Corps leaders were impressed by the nascent company's efforts, granted McDonnell a $3,000 contract to re-engineer the aircraft. McDonnell engineers returned on 30 June 1941 with the Model II, rejected, so it was reworked into the Model IIa, which emerged on 24 April 1942; the new design was powered by a more traditional layout, a pair of engines in wing-mounted nacelles with four-bladed propellers in a tractor configuration. However, the design was still quite ambitious; the design used laminar airfoil sections throughout. McDonnell designers promised that the design would deliver a top speed of 472 mph with a gross weight of 18,600 lb, although the anticipated gross weight was soon increased to a somewhat more realistic 20,000 lb. On 30 September 1941, the USAAF granted McDonnell a $1,508,596 contract, plus an $86,315 fee, for two prototypes, a wind tunnel model, associated engineering data.
The Model IIa was designated as the XP-67. The production aircraft was intended to have an innovation at the time. A number of armament configurations were considered including six.50 in machine guns, four 20 mm cannon, a 75 mm cannon before the configuration of six 37 mm M4 cannon was chosen. Power would be provided by two Continental XIV-1430-1 inverted V-12 engines, fitted with turbosuperchargers, the engine exhaust gases would augment thrust. An extensive aerodynamic test program of the numerous advanced aspects of the design was begun by McDonnell, NACA and the University of Detroit; the design demanded skin, smooth and shaped to maintain its laminar-flow characteristics, mandating the development of new construction techniques, as the company had never produced an entire aircraft before. Wind tunnel testing uncovered problems with engine cooling airflow through the engine nacelles, which were never resolved. Difficulties were encountered in obtaining engines, as wartime production demands hampered Continental's efforts to deliver running examples of the experimental XIV-1430 engines to competing aircraft test programs.
The project was delayed by intense competition for testing time at the NACA wind tunnel facility in Langley, Virginia. The first XP-67, 42-11677, was ready for ground trials on 1 December 1943; the aircraft was fitted with XIV-1430-17/19 engines and General Electric D-23 turbo-superchargers but no pressurization equipment or armament was installed. On 8 December, the aircraft was damaged by fires in both engine nacelles, caused by a malfunction of the exhaust manifold slip rings. By 6 January 1944, the damage was repaired and the XP-67 made its first flight, which ended after six minutes due to engine trouble. After modifications were made to the engine installations, two test flights were carried out. On the fourth flight, the engine bearings burned out. By this time, it was becoming obvious; the engines were only delivering 1,060 hp, well short of their promised 1,350 hp rating. Company founder Jim McDonnell, frustrated by engine procurement delays and the XI-1430's subpar output, began to campaign for funding to re-engine the prototype with a pair of Allison or Rolls Royce piston engines augmented by auxiliary Westinghouse turbojets in the aft nacelles.
Although McDonnell promised a impressive 500 mph top speed with the new powerplants, the Army rejected the proposal, demanding more testing of the existing design. As a result of wind tunnel tests, the tailplanes were raised 12 in while the XP-67 waited for replacement engines. On 23 March 1944, flight trials restarted. U. S. Army Air Forces pilots got to fly the aircraft on 11 May 1944, judged the cockpit layout fair and ground handling satisfactory, but deemed the aircraft underpowered due to its poor initial rate of climb, slow acceleration, long takeoff roll when operating with only one engine. Other flight characteristics were good during gentle maneuvers.
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, all-weather, carrier-capable, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft. Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from the latter's YF-17 in the 1970s for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps; the Hornet is used by the air forces of several other nations, since 1986, by the U. S. Navy's the Blue Angels; the F/A-18 has a top speed of Mach 1.8. It can carry a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air and air-to-ground, supplemented by the 20-mm M61 Vulcan cannon, it is powered by two General Electric F404 turbofan engines, which give the aircraft a high thrust-to-weight ratio. The F/A-18 has excellent aerodynamic characteristics attributed to its leading-edge extensions; the fighter's primary missions are fighter escort, fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, close air support, aerial reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven it to be a valuable carrier asset, though it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to its earlier contemporaries, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in the fighter and strike fighter role, the Grumman A-6 Intruder and LTV A-7 Corsair II in the attack role.
The Hornet first saw combat action during the 1986 United States bombing of Libya and subsequently participated in the 1991 Gulf War and 2003 Iraq War. The F/A-18 Hornet served as the baseline for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, its larger, evolutionary redesign; the U. S. Navy started the Naval Fighter-Attack, Experimental program to procure a multirole aircraft to replace the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, the A-7 Corsair II, the remaining McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom IIs, to complement the F-14 Tomcat. Vice Admiral Kent Lee head of Naval Air Systems Command, was the lead advocate for the VFAX against strong opposition from many Navy officers, including Vice Admiral William D. Houser, deputy chief of naval operations for air warfare – the highest-ranking naval aviator. In August 1973, Congress mandated that the Navy pursue a lower-cost alternative to the F-14. Grumman proposed a stripped F-14 designated the F-14X, while McDonnell Douglas proposed a naval variant of the F-15, but both were nearly as expensive as the F-14.
That summer, Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger ordered the Navy to evaluate the competitors in the Air Force's Lightweight Fighter program, the General Dynamics YF-16 and Northrop YF-17; the Air Force competition specified a day fighter with no strike capability. In May 1974, the House Armed Services Committee redirected $34 million from the VFAX to a new program, the Navy Air Combat Fighter, intended to make maximum use of the technology developed for the LWF program. Though the YF-16 won the LWF competition, the Navy was skeptical that an aircraft with one engine and narrow landing gear could be or economically adapted to carrier service, refused to adopt an F-16 derivative. On 2 May 1975, the Navy announced its selection of the YF-17. Since the LWF did not share the design requirements of the VFAX, the Navy asked McDonnell Douglas and Northrop to develop a new aircraft from the design and principles of the YF-17. On 1 March 1977, Secretary of the Navy W. Graham Claytor announced that the F-18 would be named "Hornet".
Northrop had partnered with McDonnell Douglas as a secondary contractor on NACF to capitalize on the latter's experience in building carrier aircraft, including the used F-4 Phantom II. On the F-18, the two companies agreed to evenly split component manufacturing, with McDonnell Douglas conducting final assembly. McDonnell Douglas would build the wings and forward fuselage. McDonnell Douglas was the prime contractor for the naval versions, Northrop would be the prime contractor for the F-18L land-based version which Northrop hoped to sell on the export market; the F-18 known as McDonnell Douglas Model 267, was drastically modified from the YF-17. For carrier operations, the airframe and tailhook were strengthened, folding wings and catapult attachments were added, the landing gear was widened. To meet Navy range and reserves requirements, McDonnell increased fuel capacity by 4,460 pounds, by enlarging the dorsal spine and adding a 96-gallon fuel tank to each wing. A "snag" was added to the wing's leading edge and stabilators to prevent an aeroelastic flutter discovered in the F-15 stabilator.
The wings and stabilators were enlarged, the aft fuselage widened by 4 inches, the engines canted outward at the front. These changes added 10,000 lb to the gross weight; the YF-17's control system was replaced with a digital fly-by-wire system with quadruple redundancy, the first to be installed in a production fighter. Plans were to acquire a total of 780 aircraft of three variants: the single-seat F-18A fighter and A-18A attack aircraft, differing only in avionics, the dual-seat TF-18A, which retained full mission capability of the F-18 with a reduced fuel load. Following improvements in avionics and multifunction displays, a redesign of external stores stations, the A-18A and F-18A were able to be combined into one aircraft. Starting in 1980, the aircraft began to be referred to as the F/A-18A, the designation was announced on 1 April 1984; the TF-18A was redesignated F/A-18B. Northrop developed the F-18L as a potential export aircraft. Since it was not strengthened for carrier service, it was expected to be lighter and bette