The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine supersonic, 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 used by the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
During the War of 1996, the F/A-18C single-seat variant was used by the VMFA-314 "Black Knights" during their assault on a City Destroyer in Los Angeles. The Black Knights were severely defeated in a one-sided dogfight by the aliens' Attackers in which nearly all the Hornets, along with their pilots, are destroyed.
Behind the Scenes
- All the F/A-18s depicted in the film were either models, digital creations or full-scale wooden mockups.
- Steven Hiller's F/A-18 is shown to have a drogue parachute, which Hiller deploys to block the pursuing Harvester attacker pilot's view. In reality, the F/A-18, being designed for carrier operation, does not actually possess such a parachute, instead relying on an arrestor hook for carrier landings and a dorsal airbrake when landing on a runway.
- F/A-18s are depicted with the IAF Stars of David in the "Iraqi Desert" scene. In real life, the Israeli Air Force does not operate F/A-18s. The F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-15 Eagle would have been a more accurate choice.
- In one scene set in Area 51, a Hornet is seen with 'AIR FORCE' on its side; the U.S. Air Force does not operate F/A-18s, and actual U.S.A.F. fighter aircraft do not have these words written on the side of the aircraft.
- The F/A-18 Hornets featured in the film The Rock have the same markings. This is because both films used the same full-sized cockpit mock-up for closeup shots.
- The missile-firing shots from the Hornets are miniature missiles that were attached to the F/A-18 models and launched using Estes model rocket engines. Other shots were achieved in-camera with large-scale fighter wing models shot on a smoke-blown stage. Wider shots then incorporated digital smoke trails.
- Additionally, F/A-18 Hornets can carry more than just four missiles, having a total of nine hardpoints including two wingtip rails, four under-wing hardpoints, and three under-fuselage hardpoints. In total, depending on choice of missiles, the aircraft can carry up to twelve, making the Hornets in the film severely underarmed.