F-18E/F Rhino

Though the official name of the F-18E/F is the Super Hornet, it is unofficially known as the Rhino in operational use. This name was chosen to distinguish the newer variants from the original F-18A/B/C/D Hornet and avoid any confusion during carrier deck operations.

Overhead view of an F-18E (top) and F-18C (bottom)
Overhead view of an F-18E (top) and F-18C (bottom)

It is important not to confuse the two planes because the newer E/F models weigh nearly 20% more at takeoff and over 30% more at landing compared to the earlier aircraft. The Navy decided to use these two different names to ensure that deck operators would not accidentally confuse the Hornet and Super Hornet by setting the takeoff catapults and landing arrestor wires for the wrong aircraft weight. Doing so could have disastrous consequences for crew on both the aircraft and the carrier.
- answer by Jeff Scott, 27 April 2003

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