U.S. Navy Blue Angels are about to transition from the team’s current Boeing F/A-18C and D model aircraft to the larger and more capable Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets.
Airshowstuff.com had the scoop first, in which they noted that the jet shown was one of the same F/A-18E models painted-up in the special ‘Maverick scheme’ for Top Gun 2 before it was draped in its new navy blue attire.
You can see images of the painted up Super Hornet in the tweet below:
The original plan was for the Blues to transition to the Super Hornet between the 2020 and 2021 seasons, but with air shows now being canceled for some time, a move that could now last through the entirety of 2020, we may see them attempt to speed up the transition or at least allow for more time to see it through.
The team is set to receive 18 Super Hornets, some of the oldest in the fleet, which will be modified into the Blue Angels’ unique configuration.
The batch of 18 Super Hornets officially making the transition are taken into U.S. Navy depots for safety inspections before being modified by Boeing.
“That modification takes anywhere from six to eight months,” Hopkins said. “There’s been over 75 Blue Angels aircraft in the history of the Blue Angels. So the process with Boeing has been around for quite a while. But transitioning into Super Hornets brings new challenges.”
Come 2021, fans at Pensacola Beach for the July air show shouldn’t notice a difference in the way these new Super Hornets glide through the air, despite the fact that they are 33% bigger than the legacy aircraft.
“Once we get modified aircraft, there’s a team that will put these in the air and tries to match the current demonstrations as much as possible,” Hopkins said. “You could see some deviations to maneuvers, for sure, but to the naked eye, I don’t think you’re going to see a big difference.”
All 18 aircraft are at different stages of the refurbishing process. Some have only been identified and haven’t had a lick of work done to them yet. Hopkins said the repainting process will begin in mid-April.
The team’s routine is also being modified for the new jets’ unique performance. You can learn more about these alternations to the planes and the team’s routine in this past post of ours.