However, the Lightning costs a lot more, and is rife with issues. For now, the Navy has judged that a mixed force will be more than adequate for its needs. When facing threatening adversaries, the two aircraft types could potentially synergize well, with the Lightning, confined to lighter internal weapons loads when flying in a stealthy configuration, ferreting out targets for the Super Hornets to slug away at from a relatively safe distance.
Sébastien Roblin holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring.
This first appeared in June 2017.