The F/A-18 Super Hornet is the Navy’s top-line aircraft. An all-weather aircraft, the “Super Bug” is used as an attack aircraft as well as a fighter. In its fighter mode, the F/A-18 is used primarily as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense; in its attack mode, it is used for force projection, interdiction and close and deep air support.
The team performing at the show will be the West Coast Demonstration Team from VFA-122 “Flying Eagles” based at NAS Lenmoore, California, flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet. The F/A-18 demonstrated its capabilities and versatility during Operation Desert Storm, shooting down enemy fighters and subsequently bombing enemy targets with the same aircraft on the same mission, and breaking all records for tactical aircraft in availability, reliability, and maintainability. It has continued to be a workhorse in the Navy’s recent overseas operations. The VFA-122 demonstration team performs demonstrations at air shows around the country in a two-seat F/A-18F in a routine that highlights the aircraft’s maneuverability and slow-speed handling characteristics. These high performance demonstrations are performed with a single aircraft.
The Flying Eagles of VFA-122 trace their history back to VC-35, a “composite” squadron composed of various models of the A-1 Skyraider. Commissioned on 25 May 1950 at NAS San Diego, the mission of this squadron was to supply All-Weather Attack and Anti-Submarine Warfare detachments for carrier deployments and Pacific Fleet exercises.
The Flying Eagles saw new life when the squadron redesignated to VFA-122 in January 1999 and became the first squadron to operate the FA-18E/F Super Hornet. In the years since, VFA-122 has flown over 58,100 class ‘A’ free flight hours in the Super Hornet. The squadron’s role remains the same as it was on the 29th of JUNE 1959: to train replacement aircrew and maintainers for combat operations in a new and challenging aircraft. The Super Hornet is the Navy’s newest and most advanced aircraft and has seen combat flown by VFA-122 trained aircrew, in Operation Iraqi Freedom.