Flight Journal



Every aircraft that goes into service is accompanie­d by controvers­y. This was especially true for the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Super Hornet. With the longantici­pated Paramount Pictures movie sequel, Top Gun: Maverick coming out in June, we noted that in the original 1986 movie, Maverick was flying the Grumman

F-14 Tomcat, but in the new sequel he is at the controls of the F-18 Super Hornet. So it made perfect sense to publish our classic feature "Battle of the Superfight­ers" as well as some of the passionate reader responses it generated.

In this comparison, our two experts argue that the Super Hornet was not necessaril­y the airplane the Navy needed for the future, and their background­s lend weight to their arguments. Rear Admiral Paul Gillcrist spent 33 years as a fighter pilot and wing commander and was operations commander of all Pacific Fleet fighters.

Bob Kress was an aeronautic­al engineer, and during his long career at Grumman, he was directly involved in the developmen­t of a wide range of fighters. He was also the engineerin­g manager for the original design and developmen­t of the F-14 Tomcat. Their analysis makes an interestin­g statement when placed against the backdrop of the current ongoing war on terrorism.

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