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$50 (INI only)
|“|| Hornets in the air!|
- Aircraft carrier, when ordered to attack
Effectively a scaled down bomber, the Hornet is armed with five Hornet homing missiles and operates out of Allied aircraft carriers. Each vessel can carry three fighters of this type and automatically repairs damaged units and replaces lost ones. Due to their small size, fuel limits restrict operational range.
The Hornets are unable to inflict as much damage the missiles fired by Dreadnoughts and Boomers, but can attack moving targets with better precision. Being attack jets, Hornets also give the carrier a longer striking range than that of the Dreadnought's or Boomer's missiles. Hornets are also more durable than Dreadnought and Boomer missiles, making it more likely that a carrier strike wave will survive long enough to hit the target. On the other hand, carriers cannot launch strikes as frequently as the Dreadnought and Boomer can launch missiles (it takes even longer if the carrier must replace downed planes). Hornets are also capable of gaining veterancy promotions, though this is often short-lived due to the Hornet's expendability on the battlefield.
The Hornets were primarily based on the actual Boeing F/A-18 Hornet , a strike-fighter aircraft used by the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps for aircraft-carrier based operations. Unlike the in-game Hornet, the real-life Hornet uses a catapult take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) method of take-off and landing aboard aircraft carriers and is capable of being used for air-to-air combat on top of its ground strike capabilities. Besides being operated by aviators in the U.S. Navy and Marines, the F/A-18 is also widely used by many air forces around the world (including the Finnish, Australian, Swiss, Kuwaiti, and Malaysian air forces).