Hobby Master HA3501 US Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet Strike Fighter - Lt. Cdr. Mark Fox, VFA-81 "Sunliners", USS Saratoga (CV-60), 1991 "Operation Desert Storm" [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
"Bigger, Higher, Faster, Farther."
- Thinking within the US Air Force during the late 1970s
The F/A-18 Hornet is the true multi-role aircraft. It can vault from a carrier deck, bomb a target and stay to dogfight even the best enemy aircraft without missing a beat. It's the Navy's first modern-era jet intended for double duty against air- and ground-based adversaries. Armed to the hilt with Sparrow and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, an internal cannon, and laser-guided bombs, this modern warbird was an outstanding performer in Operation Desert Storm. Strapped into a digital cockpit described as a cross between Star Wars and a video game, pilots of the F/A-18 Hornet take on the ultimate aviation job: blasting this single-seat, high-performance jet off the deck of a carrier, dropping bombs, and firing air-to-ground ordnance. Offering unmatched agility, the Hornet is the choice aircraft of the US Navy's elite Blue Angels aerobatic team.
Pictured here is a gorgeous 1:72 scale diecast replica of a US Navy F/A-18C Hornet Strike Fighter that was attached to VFA-81 "Sunliners", then embarked upon the USS Saratoga during 1991 when it participated in Operation Desert Storm. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 7.5 inches
Length: 9 inches
Release Date: October 2011
Historical Account: "Crusader Dawn" - Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (VFA-81), also known as the "Sunliners", is a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana. They are a part of Carrier Air Wing Seventeen, their radio callsign is Zapper, and their tail code is AA. Their mission is to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations from the sea, putting fuzed ordnance on target, on time.
On February 4th, 1988, VA-81 transitioned to the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet and was redesignated Strike Fighter Squadron 81 (VFA-81). The squadron made three deployments with Saratoga between 1990 and 1994. On its first cruise in the FA-18, VFA-81 participated in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. On January 17th, 1991, LCDR Scott Speicher's F/A-18C was shot down on the first night of the Persian Gulf War while flying a mission west of Baghdad. It is disputed whether he was shot down by a SAM or by a MiG-25.
On the first day of the war the Sunliners scored the Navy's only two aerial victories by downing two Iraqi MiG-21s. VFA-81 returned to its homeport of NAS Cecil Field, Florida on March 27th, 1991, following the swift coalition victory. The squadron also participated in the last Mediterranean deployment of Saratoga, which was decommissioned in August 1994.