posted on Nov, 25 2006 @ 02:58 PM
No you cannot do the same thing with a Super Hornet
Let's also be honest and say that you cannot do ANYTHING with a JSF that the F/A-18E/F or more particularly the EA-18G isn't there to cover for.
first the F-35 offers improved and more avionics,
I would put the F/A-18 Lot-25 and up ACS against an F-35. The second man, the bigger forward fuselage, the APG-79, the MUCH larger displays. It's
all there (or could readily be incorporated) to make this airframe a true netcentric warrior.
better information sharing and gathering capabilities (cannot be understated),
The nice thing about a nominally 'conventional' signature airframe is that you can lump-and-bump it sufficiently to make your netcentric
AAS-46 is not that hot (basically AAS-38 warmed over) but the ASQ-228 ATFLIR is roughly a match to the EOTS as that system is itself based on the
AAQ-33 Sniper. The Super Horror pioneered IAM+Radar corrected targeting (HART as AMSTE) and while they then 'quietly let it die' for fear of
proving how little difference there was with the achievables on the JSF, the fact remains that the APG-79 is good enough to support extended range
(GBU-39 as much as 38) PTOD shots and it is just as capable as the APG-77 of being hooked up to a digital modem to achieve /truly phenomenal/ burst
Overrated according to a lot of sources. Not least because all contemporary S2A systems are _static_ as well as 'highly visible' and so if they
illuminate, they have no hope of displacing from their position before Blk.VI HARM (power IAM) or GBU-39 arrive to obliterate the site.
If an F-15E can loft a GBU-39 nearly 60 miles downrange in tests from a _subsonic_ launch, the F/A-18E/F can do 'good enough' in avoiding the medium
range threats. For the 20 something SAMs, you go in with cruise or F-22 anyway.
expanded weapons payload
Six of one. The Bug Deux is a devil of a stores environment with both acoustics and separation issues that have never really been resolved. That
said, it can do the one thing it _has to_ which is carry numbered IAMs opposite HARM to a 350nm combat radius, without tanking.
A JSF may be able to carry as many small IAM as the bug does big (though not more) but it _cannot_ carry HARM. Until it goes external. And becomes a
conventional signature jet.
...and better flight specs.
According to who? The JSF will have a typical combat military thrust to weight ratio of less than half at takeoff. It will have only about .9, even
in burner. Any jet on the planet which catches it heavy with gas will butcher it in an even odds dogfight. And on the wrong end of a 700nm radius,
it _can't_ dump fuel to get down to fighting weight.
With half the envelope of the Raptor, even under 'ideal' conditions of half internal fuel, it will also not supercruise. Because it's wing is too
small in the A/B versions. And too damn large in the C.
Next, reread what I said above: The Just So Bleeped is not going ANYWHERE without a Bug of some model holding it's hand. Combine this with the fact
that 'for the Naval services' there will still only be ten jets on-deck. And you are just plain screwed. You can't dedicate half your airwing to
reinvent an A-6 VAW(H) capability.
But anyway, the F-35 is not replacing the Super Hornet, it's replacing the C/D versions, as such, the Navy will have a powerful duo for ground and
The Navy will have ten jets onboard. Replacing the F-18C/D with another fatwing bomber that is slow to accelerate and has the lowest of all three
services thrust to weight ratios is a _bad idea_ if you intend to make the jet into a utility fighter as the Bug-1s /still/ are.
I don't even need to list the improvements over the Harrier.
Yeah, yeah you do. Because the majority of the USMC air community /hates/ the AV-8B for it's huge carded restrictions on operating envelope
(especially the II+) and it's sucking dry of the mod/maintenance/training budget when they do their 'real work' with the F-18C/D.
In any case, you are looking at a typical detachment of 8-10 jets on an LHA/LHD and NONE on the new LPD-17. There are 5 LHA and 8 LHD. The LHA are
due to start /reitiring/ sometime after 2011 and so you are looking at a TOTAL of maybe 130 jets available. 'There was a time' when that was less
than two carriers could bring to the battle with a helluva lot more organic flex in targeting and support missions besides. Even today, it is only
about the equivalent of 3.2 Nimitz ships.
And the number of jets on a Jarhead Cruise Lines will NEVER INCREASE because:
A. They don't have the gas pass to get to a theater quickly.
B. They have to have room for LARGER troop transports in the form of the CH-53 replacement and the Osprey.
C. The Squids will never relinquish blue-air dominance to a bunch of infantry mooks.
The AF currently has no airplane that can even come close to the F-35 in the A2A role (besides F-22)
The F-35 has roughly the aerodynamic performance of the F-15A.
All the while it will still offer you a capable A2G capability with improved avionics and survivability.
'Capable' A2G is defined by presence and sortie counts off the pointy end of the boat. The F-35 is INFERIOR in this to the logical solution which
is a navalized UCAV. _UCAVs_ in turn being the 'gen-6' airframe which will completely undercut manned airframe sales because they are cheaper to
buy, cheaper to operate and can actually undertake useful peacetime missions like loitering border/EEZ overwatch, SAR, policing and even resource
The F-35 is a 700nm platform, in and out. At Mach .85, it's /still/ going to be a minimum 7-10 hour trip. And I doubt seriously if it will beat the
F-16s 3,500-5,000 dollar per flight hour DCO numbers. Which means it is useless when you get to any target set that has to be found rather than
bombed where it sits as a static structural target. A UCAV will fly out 1,100nm, sit there for TWO hours and then come home, without about 2/3rds the
gas and no AAR.
Modern airframes with modern PTOD munitions are little more than bomb trucks. If you want to win modern wars, whether third or first tier threat
based, you need MORE BOMBS ON TARGET and MORE TARGET _AREAS_ COVERED. Which can hardly be the case with 'all 10' JSF per carrier.
Like others have pointed out, the F-35 will fill the Lo end of the Hi-Lo mix, and it will serve as our workhorse and main export program.
The F-16 was the dumbest 'MSIP later' decision for a _bomb truck_ we ever made in defense spending. It made Texas Politics rich but it would have
cost us the Third World War, whether fought over Germany or Iran.
DO NOT talk to me about Hi-Lo until you realize that 'low' should be both good at what it does and _less than half the price_ of it's Hi alternate.
At 21 million each the last time GDFW offered a 'fair fight' bulk buy price, the F-16 is only about 2/3rds the cost of an F-15C (35 million) and
thus fails on ALL counts of both tactical capability and cost performance.
Why do you think thousands upon thousands of F-16's have been produced (and exported to far more nations) when arguably the F-15C and F-15E offer
more capabilities in their respective roles?
Texas has more gravita$$e in Congress than New York or Missouri does.
For one thing the F-35 is not replacing the A-10 nor is it going to be doing 300Kt at 5K to get shot at by a Stinger. It's going to be dropping
JDAM's from 20K like the F-16 does now. And BTW, when was the last time an A-10 was shot down by a stinger?
Good! Then, since 'eyeball on target' is as ridiculous for the A-10C as it is for the F-16C and since NEITHER jet is going to be doing much A2A
while 'CAS configured', why not let the job be assumed by a drone which has the same or better sensor suite?