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Future Updates to the F/A-18 E/F planned

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posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 03:30 PM
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The Super Hornet is set to recieve a slew of updates in the comming years all designed to make the aic craft more survivable adn lethal.

Work has been done to reduce its radar signature including changes in materials, airframe shaping, and inlet changes to reduce the turbofans signature. Other unspecified changes include:



But additionally, Boeing's secretive advanced programs group is coming up with a further step-change in stealth performance to minimize the difference between the F/A-18E/F and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a stealth aircraft from the ground up.


The Navy will sonn begin taking deliver of Block 2 a/c which will include the Raytheon APG-79 AESA radar.

New computer systems that will allow a/c to share imagry and data.

Possible increase in thrust for the F414 engines.

and of course the F-18G electronic warefare variant.





All quoted material taken from

Here

[edit on 6/25/06 by FredT]




posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 03:53 PM
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I seriously hope one of the changes involves more fuel. Even the Super Hornets are pretty short legged.



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:05 PM
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I doubt it. Any sig. increase in fuel would require major structural changes in what is an aleady expensive a/c. As the story goes when the Navy selected the YF-17 someone forgot to change the internal fuel capcity so its fuel fraction was woefull small. Its much better in the E/F variant but still not great. That why you almost never see a Hornet of anytype without external tanks.

I wonder if they could do comfomational tanks ala the F-15 or the F-16 Block 60



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:25 PM
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With the Navy’s even shrinking order of F-35’s this seems like a good idea, the Block II bug is already a formidable A2A fighter now couple these new upgrades with the Aim-120D and the total package just gets that much better.

And Fred I cant access the link, don't have subscription.

Can you quote a bit more?

EDIT:

Scrolling down on this link several improvements beyond the Block II version are mentioned, I believe these are the same ones being discussed in the link above.

Link



[edit on 25-6-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:26 PM
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I think it would be a lot harder to do with the Hornets honestly. The F-15 has those wonderful flat sides along the fuselage that the Hornet doesn't.



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23

And Fred I cant access the link, don't have subscription.

Can you quote a bit more?

[edit on 25-6-2006 by WestPoint23]


Sorry WP, but I can't..............

Zaphod, your point is taken but they managed to do so on the F-16, so it could be figured out.



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:42 PM
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True that. God knows that the F-18 NEEDS them badly enough.



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 05:55 PM
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I found this link which briefly mentions that Boeing is considering adding CFT's to the Hornet.


Boeing is also considering what to do to make the Super Hornet more competitive in the export market, including making the aircraft stealthier, adding conformal fuel tanks for greater range and endurance, improving the Super Hornet's precision strike capabilities...

Link


BTW anyone know the approximate combat range of the E/F, there seems to be a lot of conflicting information on the net.

[edit on 25-6-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 06:01 PM
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I suppose adding CFT's would be preferable to doing this








PS Yes, yes, it is a fake



posted on Jun, 25 2006 @ 06:03 PM
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The combat radius for the E/F is 390-410nm, or roughly 2hrs 15 minutes. It depends on the mission. Interdiction is 390, Fighter Escort is 410. It looks like the escort mission would be without external fuel tanks though. With externals it would be longer than that.



posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 12:42 AM
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FredT,

To give you an idea of how desperate they were to leave the Bug-1 behind (having shut down the line 'in anticipation'), the Navy OPEVAL team graded on a curve for what should have been a pass-fail (FAIL) and so when the Super Hornet came in at 363nm for strike and supposedly had to carry two tanks to do it, they said the 6 looked like a 9 and were happy.

The real problem with the Bug-2 is that it's not a fighter and /by mission/ (bomb truck) was never really intended to be so. Which means that it _does not need_ the 'same or better' pitch performance as the original, not least because of the prevalence of current HOBS weapons. When they started monkeying with the LERX (returning to the full depth taper of the YF-17) they changed root flows and drag issues all around the wing root and this required changes in sweep to maintain the same chord equivlance and center of pressure values. Which together threw the original bugs numbers right out the window.

Then they wanted a third pylon on the wing and that REALLY monkeyed things up because the inner two and particularly the inboard:fuselage separations are now so tight that they get a lot of tunneling and so 'to fix the fix' we got the toe and the canting. Which meant more drag again.

Unfortunately, the combination of the rough flow and the LEF vortice setup (off that damn snag which they _got rid of once already_) makes the outboards more or less useless anyway and their greed cost another 50nm of radius at least.

In terms of internal fuel, you've got about 14,000lbs on a 47,000lb fighter configuration takeoff weight which is about .29 or the same as say an F-15C with probably rather better TSFC. What's gonna kill you is the drag of the basic airframe plus all the external A2G crap (when originally sold as a 'modification' to the original Hornet, the promised range figures were in the 550nm class).

This is something which hotter engines won't fix much, especially if they have limits to what they can do with massflow and stochios due to the inlet Q factor and the 'device' vs. IHPTET.

A few things should however be noted:

1. The E/F have the bring back margin to 'take the weight' of additional tanking with a limited PGM loadout. The Bug-1 never did.
2. HART promises to give precision TLE offsets at ranges appropriate to the GBU-39's glideout. Which means that a single BRU-61 on the center line would theoretically give you as many shots as all four of the (no wing tanks) OIF contempory configurations with mixed Mk.83 and GBU-16. HART being originally designed to work with the GBU-38 off of VER-2, something that the 'no conical fin Mk.82' carriage limits may have axed anyway.
3. The USN is noted for using a lot of lolo performance figures which don't always mean the same thing in the medium/high altitude arena which expeditionary airpower has gone to in recent years. From Grumman, an FSD F/A-18A went some 580-620nm down to the Castle ranges and back again for instance. Of course it was tanked to the gills in a configuration not really useable at sea but the fact remains that, at altitude, the Bug-2 is probably better than officially credited.
4. The Bug-2 is a tank at altitude (so is the Bug-1 for that matter). With next to zero smash in military and not much in A/B, it doesn't fight at height at all well.

>>
The Super Hornet is set to recieve a slew of updates in the comming years all designed to make the aircraft more survivable and lethal.
>>

To me, the biggest advantage the USN has right now is the '2C2' (2C Squared) or 2-Crew, 2-Cockpit arrangement which lets the backseater function as more than a cheerleader to the pilot. If they can bring a UCAV online which the ACS can exploit, you have the potential for ENORMOUS force multiplication through the equivalent of 10-20 robotic spear-carriers.

This will also greatly leverage the Bug-2's drag and weight issues so that you can shift to all AAM/ARM equivalent (lightweight) systems rather than simply try to 'ride the whale' forward. With three tanks and seven missiles, the Hornet will likely go 600nm.

>>
Work has been done to reduce its radar signature including changes in materials, airframe shaping, and inlet changes to reduce the turbofans signature. Other unspecified changes include:
>>

Well, the new forward fuselage undoubtedly helps, it's wider which means the RAM is deeper and probably the fuselage access panel cutouts are different as well. No gimbal means you can bury the AESA in a nice deep RAM collar and it may be that they have changed the dielectrics on the radome to provide active fenestration. The APG-73 never did perform as well as it should have on the Bug-2.

>>
But additionally, Boeing's secretive advanced programs group is coming up with a further step-change in stealth performance to minimize the difference between the F/A-18E/F and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a stealth aircraft from the ground up.
>>

More Air is the best armor. It is also the greatest stealth-cloak. You go out beyond 40nm and a lot of the on-site fire control stuff just isn't going to see you. That said, the only real way forward is to stealth the pylons (which cuff kits are now available to do) and go for integrated weapons pods that are functionally a BRU-61 within a 480-600 gallon tank. Myself, the biggest shortcoming on the Horror are the lack of adequate weapons carriage for BVR systems. They should have put the TFLIR up in the nose and/or rigged the tip stations for AMRAAM (though it's a tall lift) rather than waste money on the 'outrigger'.

It will also be interesting to see if they do the same thing with AMRAAM as they have with HARM in giving it an inertial A2G coordinate option. That alone, in combination with a decent ALR-cued SAR snapshot targeting system, will give the Navy the best of both worlds on rapid point target engagement without the section-mix of DEAD/AAW machines as typified the 18C.

>>
The Navy will sonn begin taking deliver of Block 2 a/c which will include the Raytheon APG-79 AESA radar.
>>

Let's hope we can do a better job of keeping it secure than we did with the 65 and 73.

>>
New computer systems that will allow a/c to share imagery and data.
>>

Worthless if you don't have the on-deck ISR to do more than sit at the AF beggars table.

>>
Possible increase in thrust for the F414 engines.
>>

Right now, you are looking at 2 AIM-9X and 1 AMRAAM for most 'multirole' configured missions. This virtually guarantees a merge fight in an aircraft which is known to be slow to pitch, slow to pitch down, slow to recover E unloaded, unable to hold E while loaded and with poor roll reversal to 'reset' the fight plane, defensively. Clean.

Frankly, I would prefer to see AIM-120D or Meteor (or a turbo-AAM) qualified to more stations or assymetric loadouts with _smaller PGM_. If you keep the longest ranging sniper rifle option, and combine it with MSI and the E-2D, it doesn't matter if you're driving a shopping cart.

Particularly given the Navy's penchant for derating engines to conserve life in the marine environment, and the problems they had going from the -400 to the -402 on the original Bug for stall margin and parts lifing, (they basically recored the -400 before IPHTET caught up), I don't think pedaling faster is the solution to the Bugliests problems.

>>
And of course the F-18G electronic warefare variant.
>>

IMO, unless they are willing to invest the money to condense the ALQ-99 down to 1-2 'superpods', this is a disaster waiting to happen. Not only are you looking at fast-in/out and total radius performance issues but too much of the SEAD/EA game has changed for conditional jamming to be as effective as it once was. I would be far more interested in hearing that they've finally got a smart-decoy and a decent techniques spread available for the 214. MAWS and DIRCM after that. Standoff before all else.



posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 09:12 AM
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More power sounds good. As said by a few pilots, the Hornet gets slower faster than any other fighter and acclerates slower too. Some 26,000lb thrust engines and some CFTs would do well.



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