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

LowObservable

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Well, yes, Boeing does have a man behind the curtain and if you read the right articles by the right people you will find out who he is.

One point that is important is that with the best possible news about JSF, the Navy still has a mixed force with substantial numbers of Growlers and Super H, 20 years from now, so any investment has a reasonable payoff period.

Numbers such as "50 per cent improvement in RCS" are always squishy. But when we talk about external loads automatically having a sky-high RCS, we're forgetting to look at the fine print in some of the briefing docs we've seen over the years. Again, the right articles by the right people...

I don't think anyone at Boeing is claiming F-35-like RCS numbers in any configuration (after all, they know pretty much what those numbers are, or should be). If they have one guiding principle, it appears to be that there should be NO stealth-related maintenance aboard the boat. And while that has been promised in various ways over the decades for full-stealth designs, nobody's done it.

Not so sure about Roadrunner, though - I'm thinking of a more portly fowl from good ol'boy country who talks big, and that's about it...
 

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JFC Fuller

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LowObservable said:
One point that is important is that with the best possible news about JSF, the Navy still has a mixed force with substantial numbers of Growlers and Super H, 20 years from now, so any investment has a reasonable payoff period.
This, we can mock the media brief all we like but the business case for this would have been relatively easy to construct. The USN, the big user, will still be flying the airframe in 2030 and it will constitute about half the fleet, if not more under current planning (556 Super Hornets versus a combined USMC/USN F-35C buy of 340). Most of what they have tested will at least be of interest to that customer at some point and may help them snag one of the few outstanding international deal in the meantime.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Well, yes, Boeing does have a man behind the curtain and if you read the right articles by the right people you will find out who he is.

One point that is important is that with the best possible news about JSF, the Navy still has a mixed force with substantial numbers of Growlers and Super H, 20 years from now, so any investment has a reasonable payoff period.

Numbers such as "50 per cent improvement in RCS" are always squishy. But when we talk about external loads automatically having a sky-high RCS, we're forgetting to look at the fine print in some of the briefing docs we've seen over the years. Again, the right articles by the right people...
I notice you seem to have glossed over the drag issue. Those external internal weapons contraptions will have it in spades. It'd need three of those just to carry even what an F-35B carries internally. Will go along perfectly with the Super Hornets extra air-brakes, I mean "pylons". Should handle like Porky Pig.
 

Sundog

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sferrin said:
I notice you seem to have glossed over the drag issue. Those external internal weapons contraptions will have it in spades. It'd need three of those just to carry even what an F-35B carries internally. Will go along perfectly with the Super Hornets extra air-brakes, I mean "pylons". Should handle like Porky Pig.
The problem with this is, the F-35 is a pig by virtue of it's internal weapons carriage and STOVL requirements and there aren't any mods that will cure that. It has terrible transonic acceleration as a result.
 

sferrin

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Sundog said:
sferrin said:
I notice you seem to have glossed over the drag issue. Those external internal weapons contraptions will have it in spades. It'd need three of those just to carry even what an F-35B carries internally. Will go along perfectly with the Super Hornets extra air-brakes, I mean "pylons". Should handle like Porky Pig.
The problem with this is, the F-35 is a pig by virtue of it's internal weapons carriage and STOVL requirements and there aren't any mods that will cure that. It has terrible transonic acceleration as a result.
Terrible compared to a comparably loaded aircraft? For instance, throw 2 2000lb bombs, a pair of AIM-120s, a pair of drop tanks, an ECM pod on the centerline and targeting/nav pods (all of which is inside the OML on an F-35) on an F-16 or Hornet and let's see how they accelerate. Furthermore, let's see them reach Mach 1.6 in that configuration.
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
Sundog said:
sferrin said:
I notice you seem to have glossed over the drag issue. Those external internal weapons contraptions will have it in spades. It'd need three of those just to carry even what an F-35B carries internally. Will go along perfectly with the Super Hornets extra air-brakes, I mean "pylons". Should handle like Porky Pig.
The problem with this is, the F-35 is a pig by virtue of it's internal weapons carriage and STOVL requirements and there aren't any mods that will cure that. It has terrible transonic acceleration as a result.
Terrible compared to a comparably loaded aircraft? For instance, throw 2 2000lb bombs, a pair of AIM-120s, a pair of drop tanks, an ECM pod on the centerline and targeting/nav pods (all of which is inside the OML on an F-35) on an F-16 or Hornet and let's see how they accelerate. Furthermore, let's see them reach Mach 1.6 in that configuration.
And the obvious (then why I am mentioning it) it is still stealthy
 

SOC

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bobbymike said:
And the obvious (then why I am mentioning it) it is still stealthy
In centimetric bands.

At some angles.
 

LowObservable

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If anyone in a position to know had claimed that the stealthified Super Hornet had the same RCS profile as a clean F-35, it would be worth making a big issue over it. But they haven't so it's not.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
If anyone in a position to know had claimed that the stealthified Super Hornet had the same RCS profile as a clean F-35, it would be worth making a big issue over it. But they haven't so it's not.
No, of course not. Nobody would ever insinuate such a thing. ::)
 

Triton

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LowObservable said:
If anyone in a position to know had claimed that the stealthified Super Hornet had the same RCS profile as a clean F-35, it would be worth making a big issue over it. But they haven't so it's not.
How close is the RCS profile to a clean F-35?
 

LowObservable

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I could tell you, but then I'd have to use a hackneyed quote from a not-very-good movie.


Seriously, I don't know. The Super Rhino probably gets closer as you get closer to X-band and head-on. However, remember too that it is designed to use radar camouflage as a complement to active EW (onboard and offboard) rather than as a replacement for it.
 

Ardavan.K

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I wanted to ask something in international point of view;

* Are these upgrades allowed by DoD to be installed on exported F-18s? and, Can a country operating F-18 only select a selected number of advanced Super Hornet upgrade packages, i.e only CFTs or only a Radar , etc.

* Might be a stupid question, but as of now Boeing introducing the new advanced Super Hornet , any chance of Finland, and Kuwait be a potential customers for it , can these be upgraded on C/Ds or does it need a serious upgrade?

thanks,

~Ak
 

elmayerle

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Likely not. There are significant structural differences between the C/D and the E/F/G and, even then, the structure has to be designed in to take the CFT's. You could develop CFT's for the C/D but it would take some structural rebuilding to use them. Now, if you were to combine that with zero-timing the airframe for extended life and picking up improved systems where possible (F414's, AESA radar, etc.) from the E/F/G, you might have a saleable mi-life upgrade package.
 

orihara

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Ardavan.K said:
* Might be a stupid question, but as of now Boeing introducing the new advanced Super Hornet , any chance of Finland, and Kuwait be a potential customers for it , can these be upgraded on C/Ds or does it need a serious upgrade?

C/Ds are an entirely different airframe that only looks similar to the E/F/G model.
 

F-14D

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elmayerle said:
Likely not. There are significant structural differences between the C/D and the E/F/G and, even then, the structure has to be designed in to take the CFT's. You could develop CFT's for the C/D but it would take some structural rebuilding to use them. Now, if you were to combine that with zero-timing the airframe for extended life and picking up improved systems where possible (F414's, AESA radar, etc.) from the E/F/G, you might have a saleable mi-life upgrade package.
This is true. It was acknowledged when the Super Bug was first ordered that unlike, for example F-14s, you can not rebuild A-D airframes into E/Fs, so you're limited in what you can port over. Further, at this point, the cost of zero-timing the Classic Hornet would be so high that there is little or no interest in doing so. As for adding F414s, the intake/exhaust would need significant (and expensive) changes, plus range would decrease.

Avionics, on the other hand, keep shrinking in size and weight so many of the avionics enhancements (such as the AESA since it's primarily a new antenna/transmitter on the existing radar) would be refittable if there was interest, but with all the Classics getting somewhat long in the tooth, cost effectiveness tends to favor a new platform.

If there had been much interest I'll wager Boeing would try it. One might argue that they'd fear competition with the E/F, but that model has not exactly been burning up the order books, so they'd probably be willing if they thought they could make a buck.
 

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In the newest issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, 13 January 2014, there is on page 26 an article by Bill Sweetman about a Super Hornet test model with some Stealth modifications. It is being stored at AMARG since May 2013. This test model lacks both wings and its front fuselage, but it has chevron nozzles, serrated panel edges and RAM-coating. So it appears to be a RCS model to measure these modifications.
Boeing says that this model is not directly part of the [font=verdana, arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Advanced Super Hornet program, but some results might have had some influence. Bill Sweetman presumes, that this test model indicates an earlier effort.[/font]
 

Grey Havoc

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An old proposal for a HEL pod for the F/A-18E: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5262.0.html

 

blackstar

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fightingirish said:
In the newest issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, 13 January 2014, there is on page 26 an article by Bill Sweetman about a Super Hornet test model with some Stealth modifications. It is being stored at AMARG since May 2013. This test model lacks both wings and its front fuselage, but it has chevron nozzles, serrated panel edges and RAM-coating. So it appears to be a RCS model to measure these modifications.
Boeing says that this model is not directly part of the Advanced Super Hornet program, but some results might have had some influence. Bill Sweetman presumes, that this test model indicates an earlier effort.
Posted here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20938.msg209035.html#msg209035
 

donnage99

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Note that at 1:47 we can see that the wheel doors are saw tooth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxrZ7jWT_GY
 

BillRo

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The main wheel doors are sawtooth on all F/A-18E/Fs. The whole Northrop section was designed for reduced signature from the beginning and that is reflected in the various openings.
 

bobbymike

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http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/07/15/navy-tests-stealth-like-features-for-super-hornet.html
 

donnage99

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Another significant improvement to using conformal fuel tanks and weapon pods on the super hornet in particular is that it reduces drags created by carrying weapons canted direction. The super hornet can only carry weapons and tanks canted outward the main body, creating significant drags. With a centerline pod that faces foward directly, the drag imposed would be negated.
 

marauder2048

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Wonder if Boeing and LM can incorporate the IRST into the EWP...
 

bobbymike

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Super Hornets in Death Valley hmmm any other mountainous, desert terrain they may be training for (Caution some cursing by the 'very excited' person filming)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6yG-HO-8hQ#t=175
 

quellish

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You can see some much, much cooler things in the same area ;)
 

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quellish said:
You can see some much, much cooler things in the same area ;)
Would these much cooler "things" be coming to a flight test center near Mojave soon? Or are those other cool things?
 

quellish

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Sundog said:
quellish said:
You can see some much, much cooler things in the same area ;)
Would these much cooler "things" be coming to a flight test center near Mojave soon? Or are those other cool things?

One has been in the area since 2003. Looks like something from a Jamie Foxx movie and is in the open literature
In flight signature testing occurs in that area regularly as does threat simulation.
 

AeroFranz

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Quellish is of course referring to the movie "Stealth", and the most interesting aspect of the movie. They have been testing on Jessica Biel since 2003!
;D
 

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The cool thing is Northop Grumman actually assisted in the design of both the fighter and the drone for that movie.
 

Sundog

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quellish said:
Sundog said:
quellish said:
You can see some much, much cooler things in the same area ;)
Would these much cooler "things" be coming to a flight test center near Mojave soon? Or are those other cool things?

One has been in the area since 2003. Looks like something from a Jamie Foxx movie and is in the open literature
In flight signature testing occurs in that area regularly as does threat simulation.
So the switchblade is actually flying? Cool! I thought it was just another configuration being patented for the hell of it.
 

quellish

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AeroFranz said:
Quellish is of course referring to the movie "Stealth", and the most interesting aspect of the movie. They have been testing on Jessica Biel since 2003!
;D

Hmmm.... if she came out of a Scaled hangar, it wouldn't surprise me ;)
 

SpudmanWP

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While they are unlikely to buy it as-is, they are likely to use some of it's development in future upgrades to it's existing fleet, especially the CFTs.
 

Colonial-Marine

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Uprated engines and CFTs for the EA-18Gs at least would be nice. Would also be nice if they could straighten out those pylons after all these years.
 
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