The Gladiators are proud to showcase the F/A-18F Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration (TACDEMO) to patriotic audiences around the United States. The demonstration or “demo” is designed to highlight the mobility, versatility, and power of the F/A-18F. From the high “G” minimum radius turn to the slow speed “high-alpha” pass, the demo flight puts the Super Hornet (nicknamed the “Rhino”) through its paces. Each maneuver is meticulously rehearsed by demo team aircrew, first in the simulator, then in a series of qualification and practice flights. Demo aircrew are Fleet veterans, chosen for their abilities, knowledge, and experience. All of the TACDEMO pilots, weapons systems operators (WSO) and maintenance crew are volunteers. They perform their normal duties during the week and then travel to airshows on the weekends. Throughout the show, adherence to procedure and the safety of the crowd are
The FA-18F represents the 21st Century’s first truly multi-role fighter. Using the lessons learned from the original Hornet, the “Rhino” brings advances in avionics, weapons capabilities, radar and sensors, and stealth technology. Having stepped up to fill the roles of the F-14 Tomcat, S-3 Viking and older FA-18’s, the Rhino not only carries combat ordnance but can provide valuable reconnaissance and air-to-air refueling support to the US Fleet.
After entering service with the Fleet, the Rhino quickly found itself in combat in the skies over Afghanistan and Iraq. Its increased fuel and ordnance carriage make the Rhino an asset to American combat operations around the world. With the capability for future growth in weapons and on-board systems, the Rhino will remain a credible strike-fighter for years to come.