The "Blues" perform at both military and non-military airfields. During their aerobatic demonstration, the six-member team flies F/A-18E Super Hornets, split into the diamond formation (Blue Angels 1 through 4) and the Lead and Opposing Solos (Blue Angels 5 and 6). Most of the show alternates between maneuvers performed by the Diamond Formation and those performed by the Solos.The Diamond, in tight formation and usually at lower speeds (400 mph), performs maneuvers such as formation loops, rolls, and transitions from one formation to another. The Solos showcase the high-performance capabilities of their individual aircraft through the execution of high-speed passes, slow passes, fast rolls, slow rolls, and very tight turns. The highest speed flown during an air show is 700 mph (just under Mach 1).
In August 2018, Boeing was awarded a contract to convert nine single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornets and two F/A-18F two-seaters for Blue Angels use. Modifications to each F/A-18E/F include removal of the weapons and replacement with a tank that contains smoke-oil used in demonstrations and outfitting the control stick with a spring system for more precise aircraft control input. Control sticks are tensioned with 40 pounds (18 kg) of force to allow the pilot minimal room for non-commanded movement of the aircraft. Each modified F/A-18 remains in the fleet and can be returned to combat duty aboard an aircraft carrier within 72 hours. As converted aircraft were delivered, they were used for testing maneuvers starting in mid-2020. The team's Super Hornets became operational by the beginning of 2021, their 75th anniversary year.