The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic twin engine all-weather
night fighter and attack aircraft. The F/A-18s first flew in November 1978 and the first production
flight on April 12, 1980. The first 380 aircraft were F/A-18As and in September 1987 production
switched to the F/A-18C. Variants A and C are single-seat aircraft while B and D are tandem-
seats. The Hornet can operate from either aircraft carriers or land bases with the capability of in
flight refueling. A total of 1,480 A-D variants were built.
In 1986 F/A-18A 162875 joined VFA-192 “World Famous Golden Dragons” and eventually
became part of NSAWC (Naval Strike Air Warfare Center) and assigned #55. In 1996 the
NSAWC came about as the result of consolidating three USN units, the Naval Strike Warfare
Center, the Navy Fighter Weapons School and the Carrier Airborne Early Warning Weapons
School and locating it at NAS Fallon, Nevada. The markings on the tail represent the combined
Strike and the Fighter Weapons School. The NSAWC has since been re-designated NAWDC
(Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center).