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Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet upgrades

LowObservable

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Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.

To which purpose I will just leave this here.
 

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sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.

To which purpose I will just leave this here.
A new aircraft program missed some milestones? Say it ain't so. ::)
 

Arjen

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I'd say most.
 

lantinian

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Except the F-35 doesn't sacrifice range through added drag by hanging a zepplin on the wing.
I like that for an unofficial codeword for the new weapons pods - "zeppelins" :D

So technically any aircraft caring the zeppelins trades range for reduced RCS. I am sure the Israeli AirForce will be one F-15 operator willing to make that sacrifice on their F-15Es.
 

Abraham Gubler

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LowObservable said:
Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.
I seem to recall all of the aforementioned at one time or another predicting that the F-35 program was going to be cancelled or fail by now. The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced. Hardly an endorsement for their predictive ability.

There is a whopping difference between making milestone predictions as part of a massive engineering program and sitting on the sideline and expressing general dislike, bias, or anti F-35 feelings. If the former is inaccurate it does not validate the later.
 

sferrin

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Abraham Gubler said:
LowObservable said:
Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.
I seem to recall all of the aforementioned at one time or another predicting that the F-35 program was going to be cancelled or fail by now. The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced. Hardly an endorsement for their predictive ability.

There is a whopping difference between making milestone predictions as part of a massive engineering program and sitting on the sideline and expressing general dislike, bias, or anti F-35 feelings. If the former is inaccurate it does not validate the later.
The thing that kills me is that there are MANY things that can happen that have an effect on cost and milestones that can have absolutely nothing to do with competence of the manufacturer or design team. Say your aircraft is 40% titanium and the cost of titanium skyrockets. The price goes up and LM has no control over that. Say a vendor for a specialized part has an equipment failure that cause a delay that delays milestones down the road. That's not something that could have been predicted and maybe it can be recovered from gracefully, maybe not. Bill, ELP, and Carlo rarely if ever point out root causes, it's simply "they're LATE! Lockheed is just a lying, incompetent, theiving bunch of SOBs! And the F-35 is useless!". Bill is terrified that the success of the F-35 would mean the end of European fighter development. (Not that I agree, but at least the reason for his bias is obvious.) Carlo still thinks if the F-35 dies Australia will get F-22s, and ELP? The best I can make out is the F-35 just isn't "cool" enough for him and he's getting a lot of mileage out of playing cheerleader for Bill. ELP is just a prolific blogger but Bill ought to be ashamed of himself.
 

Arjen

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The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced.
Well, that,
- and the F-35B being put on two-year's probation;
- and the whole project being overdue;
- and costing rather more than expected;
- and sensor fusion being problematic.

I am not saying F-35 is not going to reach service. I think it will.
I am not saying that the current difficulties will not be overcome. Given enough time and money. much can be accomplished.

I do take issue with "The worst that has happened..." because, IMHO, that smacks of an overly optimistic view of the project.

Bill is terrified that the success of the F-35 would mean the end of European fighter development.
I don't know. Have you asked him? Even if that were true, what does that say about the validity of his arguments?
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
Abraham Gubler said:
LowObservable said:
Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.
I seem to recall all of the aforementioned at one time or another predicting that the F-35 program was going to be cancelled or fail by now. The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced. Hardly an endorsement for their predictive ability.

There is a whopping difference between making milestone predictions as part of a massive engineering program and sitting on the sideline and expressing general dislike, bias, or anti F-35 feelings. If the former is inaccurate it does not validate the later.
The thing that kills me is that there are MANY things that can happen that have an effect on cost and milestones that can have absolutely nothing to do with competence of the manufacturer or design team. Say your aircraft is 40% titanium and the cost of titanium skyrockets. The price goes up and LM has no control over that. Say a vendor for a specialized part has an equipment failure that cause a delay that delays milestones down the road. That's not something that could have been predicted and maybe it can be recovered from gracefully, maybe not. Bill, ELP, and Carlo rarely if ever point out root causes, it's simply "they're LATE! Lockheed is just a lying, incompetent, theiving bunch of SOBs! And the F-35 is useless!". Bill is terrified that the success of the F-35 would mean the end of European fighter development. (Not that I agree, but at least the reason for his bias is obvious.) Carlo still thinks if the F-35 dies Australia will get F-22s, and ELP? The best I can make out is the F-35 just isn't "cool" enough for him and he's getting a lot of mileage out of playing cheerleader for Bill. ELP is just a prolific blogger but Bill ought to be ashamed of himself.
sferrin - wrong! Everyone knows building a 5th generation stealth fighter for three services with the most complex avionics and software in the history of aviation is like building a Lego set. Just open the box, unfold the instructions and build ;D
 

sferrin

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Bill is terrified that the success of the F-35 would mean the end of European fighter development.
I don't know. Have you asked him? Even if that were true, what does that say about the validity of his arguments?
[/quote]

He mentioned it in a post. I wish I'd have saved it, it'd be quoted in my sig. As for what it says about his arguements, it indicates a potential for bias (he's European), and as anybody who's read his diatribes can see, it's more than just potential. If he stuck to the facts and left out all the innuendo, disparaging remarks, and hyperbole he'd be doing himself a favor. But then that's not going to happen, he has a dragon to slay. ::)
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
sferrin said:
Abraham Gubler said:
LowObservable said:
Someone needs to compare the predictions of the "biased" ELP, Sweetman & APA with the predictions out of the program office over the past few years and show how inaccurate they actually are.
I seem to recall all of the aforementioned at one time or another predicting that the F-35 program was going to be cancelled or fail by now. The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced. Hardly an endorsement for their predictive ability.

There is a whopping difference between making milestone predictions as part of a massive engineering program and sitting on the sideline and expressing general dislike, bias, or anti F-35 feelings. If the former is inaccurate it does not validate the later.
The thing that kills me is that there are MANY things that can happen that have an effect on cost and milestones that can have absolutely nothing to do with competence of the manufacturer or design team. Say your aircraft is 40% titanium and the cost of titanium skyrockets. The price goes up and LM has no control over that. Say a vendor for a specialized part has an equipment failure that cause a delay that delays milestones down the road. That's not something that could have been predicted and maybe it can be recovered from gracefully, maybe not. Bill, ELP, and Carlo rarely if ever point out root causes, it's simply "they're LATE! Lockheed is just a lying, incompetent, theiving bunch of SOBs! And the F-35 is useless!". Bill is terrified that the success of the F-35 would mean the end of European fighter development. (Not that I agree, but at least the reason for his bias is obvious.) Carlo still thinks if the F-35 dies Australia will get F-22s, and ELP? The best I can make out is the F-35 just isn't "cool" enough for him and he's getting a lot of mileage out of playing cheerleader for Bill. ELP is just a prolific blogger but Bill ought to be ashamed of himself.
sferrin - wrong! Everyone knows building a 5th generation stealth fighter for three services with the most complex avionics and software in the history of aviation is like building a Lego set. Just open the box, unfold the instructions and build ;D
True! Look how smooth the "Super" Hornet upgrade went. (As long as you ignore things like wing-drop, pylons that double as speed brakes, etc. ;) )
 

Arjen

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it indicates a potential for bias (he's European)
That covers a lot of people, including many whose jobs depends on F-35-contracts.

I disagree with your view of Bill Sweetman. I have been reading his stuff since the early 'nineties. You might not agree with him, but I for one take him very seriously.
...innuendo, disparaging remarks, and hyperbole...
Are we talking about the same person?

In the meantime, what about "The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced."? I still think that is taking a rosy view of what's been going on.
 

bobbymike

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Arjen said:
it indicates a potential for bias (he's European)
That covers a lot of people, including many whose jobs depends on F-35-contracts.

I disagree with your view of Bill Sweetman. I have been reading his stuff since the early 'nineties. You might not agree with him, but I for one take him very seriously.
...innuendo, disparaging remarks, and hyperbole...
Are we talking about the same person?

In the meantime, what about "The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced."? I still think that is taking a rosy view of what's been going on.
I first started reading Bill Sweetman about 25 years ago (bought one of his books - Aircraft 2000) and generally find him informative and knowledgeable. However, his F-35 posts are vindictive and full of vitriol on occasion for the program, the contractors and even the politicians or defense secretary. I seem to recall AW&ST stopped him from reporting on the F-35 for a while because of a snarky unprofessional post at their website.

I don't know for a fact if Eurocentrism is behind it, but his writing is definitely different on that subject.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
Arjen said:
it indicates a potential for bias (he's European)
That covers a lot of people, including many whose jobs depends on F-35-contracts.

I disagree with your view of Bill Sweetman. I have been reading his stuff since the early 'nineties. You might not agree with him, but I for one take him very seriously.
...innuendo, disparaging remarks, and hyperbole...
Are we talking about the same person?

In the meantime, what about "The worst that has happened is three widgets in the B model’s engine need to be replaced."? I still think that is taking a rosy view of what's been going on.
I first started reading Bill Sweetman about 25 years ago (bought one of his books - Aircraft 2000) and generally find him informative and knowledgeable. However, his F-35 posts are vindictive and full of vitriol on occasion for the program, the contractors and even the politicians or defense secretary. I seem to recall AW&ST stopped him from reporting on the F-35 for a while because of a snarky unprofessional post at their website.

I don't know for a fact if Eurocentrism is behind it, but his writing is definitely different on that subject.
x2. I've been reading his books for years, and in topics other than the F-35 he seems to be the same guy who's books I've been buying since the late 80's / early 90's, but more and more his F-35 stuff reads like the ravings of the most rabid fanboy.
 

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"I seem to recall all of the aforementioned at one time or another predicting that the F-35 program was going to be cancelled or fail by now."

Really? I don't.

I think that there is a good deal of "shooting the messenger" going on here, along with some woolly thinking about things like titanium (seriously, how much of the cost of a highly engineered object like an airplane is raw material?) and a whole lot of denial about the real status of the program.

See the date on the attached. Summer of 2008 - with Block 3 DT due to be completed in mid-2013, that is, five years away.

We are now in 2011 and Block 3 DT is due to complete in mid-2016 - five and a half years out.

I don't think any of the "naysayers" ever predicted in 2008 that the program would make six months of negative process in the following three years, but here we are.
 

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donnage99

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lantinian said:
Except the F-35 doesn't sacrifice range through added drag by hanging a zepplin on the wing.
I like that for an unofficial codeword for the new weapons pods - "zeppelins" :D

So technically any aircraft caring the zeppelins trades range for reduced RCS. I am sure the Israeli AirForce will be one F-15 operator willing to make that sacrifice on their F-15Es.
The pod is designed for the super hornet, which I assume that it is designed to align the RCS spikes with that of the super hornet. This leads to the question - will the pod be as effective anymore in term of RCS reduction when we hang it under a different aircraft?
 

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I'm happy to notice we're on topic again.
 

lantinian

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The pod is designed for the super hornet, which I assume that it is designed to align the RCS spikes with that of the super hornet.
I don't see anything more than a container featuring the most basic RCS reduction technique: Separating the top and bottom surfaces by a sharp line. I don't see any "YF-23" platform alignment on the pod or the F/A-18E either.

This leads to the question - will the pod be as effective anymore in term of RCS reduction when we hang it under a different aircraft?
You mean whether another aircraft that uses this pod will have a lower RCS if it has ist weapons internally in the pod versus externally as usual? ::) Hell Yeah!

Frankly, I think it will be a lot more interesting too speculate how this pod effects the aerodynamics of a clean Super Hornet than its signature. For example, does caring the pod still allow this Super Hornet to go supersonic?
 

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George Muellner, when he was boss of the Phantom Works, was quoted as saying that their signatures people had made some important advances in computing the RCS of very complex shapes (that was in 2007 IIRC). Computing is the first and biggest step to controlling RCS. So I don't think that the stealthed-up Rhino or the Silent Eagle are jokes or marketing BS, not for one second.
 

lantinian

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Computing is the first and biggest step to controlling RCS.
Sure, Instead of blindingly applying RAM to the whole aircraft you can target certain spots that are the biggest contributors. Sort of "cut out" the spikes. Make the aircraft predictably detectable and use mission tactics to keep the lowest RCS profile to the enemy. So the computing in this case allows for a more cost efficient signature reduction, and can't do miracles since the aircraft fundamental shape is hardly changed.
 

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LowObservable said:
Computing is the first and biggest step to controlling RCS. So I don't think that the stealthed-up Rhino or the Silent Eagle are jokes or marketing BS, not for one second.
Compared to a vanilla Hornet or Eagle, perhaps not. Compared to a F-22 or F-35 almost certainly so.
 

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sferrin said:
LowObservable said:
Computing is the first and biggest step to controlling RCS. So I don't think that the stealthed-up Rhino or the Silent Eagle are jokes or marketing BS, not for one second.
Compared to a vanilla Hornet or Eagle, perhaps not. Compared to a F-22 or F-35 almost certainly so.
It's not that anyone is claiming that there is not a place for full-up stealth (Boeing has Phantom Ray after all). But what do managed RCS and EW - which are highly synergistic, since reducing RCS has a big impact on the power you need for jamming - do for you in terms of operational capability?
 

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LowObservable said:
sferrin said:
LowObservable said:
Computing is the first and biggest step to controlling RCS. So I don't think that the stealthed-up Rhino or the Silent Eagle are jokes or marketing BS, not for one second.
Compared to a vanilla Hornet or Eagle, perhaps not. Compared to a F-22 or F-35 almost certainly so.
It's not that anyone is claiming that there is not a place for full-up stealth (Boeing has Phantom Ray after all). But what do managed RCS and EW - which are highly synergistic, since reducing RCS has a big impact on the power you need for jamming - do for you in terms of operational capability?
Well a smaller RCS is always better obviously but how much are they getting and what's it giving them? Does it merit the hype? Also, I seem to recall seeing a drawing of the "Silent Eagle" intake and the inner wall of the intake was bulged outward to block (somewhat) a straight view of the engine face. Does this ring any bells? It seems to me it would restrict airflow.
 

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I had not seen anything about an inlet geometry change and doubt that it would be practical. They could presumably use something like the Super Hornet blocker.

As to the value of reduced RCS on a largely conventional design - almost every fighter program in the world other than the F-22/F-35 uses that approach. Have Glass on F-16s, edge alignments on the Rhino, inlet LOS blockage on Typhoon, RAM on Sukhois, tilted radar bulkhead on the J-10B.
 

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LowObservable said:
I had not seen anything about an inlet geometry change and doubt that it would be practical. They could presumably use something like the Super Hornet blocker.

As to the value of reduced RCS on a largely conventional design - almost every fighter program in the world other than the F-22/F-35 uses that approach. Have Glass on F-16s, edge alignments on the Rhino, inlet LOS blockage on Typhoon, RAM on Sukhois, tilted radar bulkhead on the J-10B.
Yes but designed in from the start like the B-1B, Typhoon and Super Hornet is going to get you a better result than trying to slap it on after the fact. They're not talking about redesigning the SE to the point of incorporation edge alignment so how much can really be achieved with applied RAM?
 

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lantinian said:
You mean whether another aircraft that uses this pod will have a lower RCS if it has ist weapons internally in the pod versus externally as usual? ::) Hell Yeah!
My point is that each aircraft has a different RCS model. Therefore, the pod is designed specifically for the super hornet and perhaps are not that effective in term of stealth when you hang it under a different aircraft with different RCS characteristics.
 

Abraham Gubler

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LowObservable said:
But what do managed RCS and EW - which are highly synergistic, since reducing RCS has a big impact on the power you need for jamming - do for you in terms of operational capability?
The terminology used for the LO in a Super Hornet is "tactically significant". This means the reductions to its RCS enable it to decide the engagement geometry, get off a first shot, etc. The use of panniers and the like (Silent Eagle, Growth Hornet) are about keeping this tactical significance in the face of evolving threat radars.
 

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Therefore, the pod is designed specifically for the super hornet
Any proof? Had it been a conformal weapons pod like the ones on the Silen Eagle I would have agreed, but it's not.

I could just as well speculate that Boing has plans to makted that pod for potential F-15 / F-16 upgrades as part of a larger strategy designed to undermine the need for the F-35.
 

donnage99

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lantinian said:
Any proof? Had it been a conformal weapons pod like the ones on the Silen Eagle I would have agreed, but it's not.

I could just as well speculate that Boing has plans to makted that pod for potential F-15 / F-16 upgrades as part of a larger strategy designed to undermine the need for the F-35.
It's just logical deduction. If you gonna put money into it, you probably want to have the best RCS reduction possible. And to get the best, you have to build one that is specialized to the particular aircraft in concern. Also, the pod must have aerodynamic characteristics that are efficient when flown on the super hornet. I don't imagine an f-15 variant have very similar aerodynamic characteristics as the super bug.
 

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Why would they? They're different problems. That's like saying 'pedal your bicycle' makes no sense because 'pedal your car' makes no sense.
 

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Three small photos of the demonstrator at Aero India 2011:

http://livefist.blogspot.com/2011/02/aero-india-first-look-at-fa-18.html
 

donnage99

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Zero net gain in drag? That's cool. I also read somewhere that DIRCM is also an option. Anyone clarify this for me?
 

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you mean what's DIRCM?

DIRCM = directed infra red counter measure. It's a system involving missile approach warning sensors and a turret equipped with a laser, that is used to 'blind' the sensitive seeker head of an approaching IR-guided missile. Lots of cargo aircraft, high value assets, and even helos are getting it. It's usually fairly draggy, as the sensors and the turret kind of protrude in the airstream and you need multiples to achieve full coverage. I have ever seen it applied to supersonic platforms, as in its current form it would exact too much of a performance penalty. But maybe you can repackage it cleaner....
 

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AeroFranz said:
I have ever seen it applied to supersonic platforms, as in its current form it would exact too much of a performance penalty.
Su-30MKM.
 

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the Whole Su-27+ family have DIRCM it is clearly noticeable on Su-34 the globe thing behind the cockpit correct me if i'm wrong
http://paralay.com/su34/3462.jpg
 

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Are we talking Directional Infrared Counter Measures (DIRCM) or Missile Approach Warning (MAW)? They are different! As far as I am aware, the systems such as the Saab Avitronics MAW-300 (from the Su-30MKM) are purely MAWs and thus do not directly 'attack' the threat such as a true DIRCM such as Northrop Grumman's AN/AAQ-24 system.

Regards,

Greg
 

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Good point, Greg.
The DIRCM (prononunced Dircom) systems combine some sort of MAWS AND a turret. the latter tends to protrude a lot in order, and it's always a hassle giving it adequate field of view. But nothing says you can't make it smaller, given enough time and money...
 

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