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 ST. LOUIS, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Under the theme, "10,000 Jets For Freedom," McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) today delivered the 10,000th military jet produced at its St. Louis plant.
 Speaking at the delivery ceremony, John F. McDonnell, chairman and chief executive officer of McDonnell Douglas, said he was proud of the company's past and excited about its future. "We are number one in the defense business, and we fully intend to hold that position," McDonnell said.
 The 10,000th aircraft -- an F/A-18C Hornet -- was presented in a ceremony at the plant to U.S. Navy Squadron VFA-137 of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif. Accepting the aircraft were Capt. Rob Freedman, F/A-18 deputy program manager for the U.S. Navy, and Cmdr. Michael Groothousen, commanding officer of VFA-137.
 Also presented to U.S. military customers at the ceremony were McDonnell Douglas' other current production fighters and trainer aircraft, the U.S. Navy T-45A Goshawk, U.S. Air Force F-15E Eagle, and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II. No other aerospace company in the world has four such aircraft in continuing production.
 The theme, "10,000 Jets For Freedom," denotes McDonnell Douglas' contribution to the ongoing cause of securing peace through strength around the world. The company has been producing military jets for the United States and its allies since 1945, when the FH-1 Phantom flew for the first time.
 The original Phantom initiated the age of U.S. Navy aircraft carrier jet aviation in 1946 when it became the first jet to take off and land on a U.S. carrier. McDonnell Douglas' St. Louis-built jets have been used in combat since 1951, when the F2H Banshee flew in the Korean War.
 Today's fighters -- the F/A-18, F-15 and AV-8B -- played pivotal roles in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. More recently, the F/A-18, F-15 and F-4 Phantom II carried out allied military strikes on Iraq in Operation Southern Watch.
 The F/A-18 Hornet made naval aviation history by validating the strike fighter concept in Operation Desert Storm. Two F/A-18s flying an attack mission encountered two MiG-21 interceptors. The Hornet pilots retained their bombs, switched to fighter mode, shot down the MiGs, switched back to attack mode, hit their assigned ground targets and safely returned to the aircraft carrier.
 The U.S. Navy has identified the Hornet as the centerpiece of naval aviation well into the 21st century. The F/A-18 flew for the first time Nov. 18, 1978. As of today, 1,152 Hornets have been produced in St. Louis.
 The F-15 Eagle was built to dominate the skies, and its performance during Operation Desert Storm is awesome proof of its combat capabilities. F-15Cs shot down 36 of the 41 aircraft Iraq lost in aerial combat, including 33 of 35 Iraqi fighters.
 The F-15E dual-role fighter flew at night and in bad weather to destroy numerous Scud missile launchers and other important military targets while maintaining a 95.9 percent average mission-capable rate, the highest of any fighter in the war. The Eagle will remain the U.S. Air Force's premier fighter into the next century.
 First flight of the F-15 occurred July 27, 1972. As of today, 1,225 Eagles have been produced in St. Louis.
 The vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) capability of the AV-8B Harrier II has made it a leader in technical innovation. The Harrier family of aircraft are the only V/STOL jets in production today. International collaborative partnerships have preserved this unique V/STOL technology and have led to the development of improved Harriers, like the new radar-equipped Harrier II Plus.
 The AV-8B made its first flight Nov. 9, 1978. To date, 268 Harrier IIs have been produced in St. Louis.
 The T-45A Goshawk is at the heart of the T-45 Training System (T45TS), the first totally integrated training system developed for use by U.S. armed forces. The T-45A is designed to excel in the rigorous environment of naval aviation training. Student pilots graduating from the T45TS program are well prepared for direct assignment to operational aircraft such as the F/A-18.
 First flight of a St. Louis-built T-45 took place Dec. 16, 1991. To date, 10 T-45s have been made in St. Louis.
 The F-4 Phantom II is one of the most popular fighters ever built and the most dominant fighter of its era.
 It was the nation's front-line interceptor, fighter-bomber, escort and reconnaissance aircraft. During Operation Desert Storm, U.S. Air Force Wild Weasel squadrons flew more than 2,500 combat sorties, disengaging the enemy's radar systems and other ground-based air defenses. McDonnell Douglas built 5,057 F-4s at its St. Louis plant.
 Continuing Air Force tests have shown that the F-15 is durable enough to provide more than 33 years of useful economic service, and that it has exceeded by more than 25 percent the most stringent government requirement for airframe durability.
 -0- 2/10/93
 /CONTACT: Lee Whitney of McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, 314-234-0685/

CO: McDonnell Douglas; McDonnell Douglas Aerospace ST: California IN: ARO SU:

EH -- LA030 -- 5272 02/10/93 15:06 EST
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Date:Feb 10, 1993

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