U.S. Navy’s Last Operational F/A-18C Hornet To Be Retired On Feb. 1, 2019

A U.S. Navy F/A-18C Hornet aircraft assigned to the Blue Blasters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34 makes an arrested landing on the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the Pacific Ocean March 20, 2018. The Carl Vinson Strike Group is currently operating in the Western Pacific as part of a regularly scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dylan M. Kinee)

Navy’s last “Legacy Hornet” in service with VFA-34 are about to be retired.

VFA-34 “Blue Blasters”, the remaining F/A-18C Hornet squadron in the U.S. Navy, will perform their last flight in the Legacy Hornet this week.
The only squadron that has not transitioned to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet yet will say farewell to the “Legacy Hornet” at their home base at NAS Oceana, Virginia, on Feb. 1, 2019.

Between Jan. 5 and Apr. 11, 2018, the unit has completed the last combat deployment aboard an aircraft carrier: as part of CVW-2, VFA-34 took part in a Westpac deployment that included a port call in Vietnam, the first such port stop by a U.S. carrier since the war ended.

Although they will be officially retired in a matter of days, some F/A-18A+ Hornets (where “+” designates aircraft equipped with AN/APG-73 radars instead of the original AN/APG-65) will continue to serve in the fleet adversary support role with the Reserve as part of VFC-12 from NAS Oceana and VFA-204 from NAS New Orleans Joint Reserve Base. The Blue Angels will also continue flying their Legacy Hornets while transitioning to the Super Hornets.

“Legacy Hornets” remain in service with the U.S. Marine Corps that plans to fly the F/A-18Cs until they are replaced by the F-35B STOVL variant Lightining II stealth aircraft

While Legacy Hornets are retired, the F-35C CV (Carrier Variant) aircraft prepares to deploy aboard USS Carl Vinson in 2021: after a 6-month deployment aboard USS Nimitz, VFA-147 “Argonauts” have started transition to the F-35C in December 2018.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.