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IRST, from F-14D's, for F-15

Sundog

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Hi guys,
I thought you would find this interesting. I did anyway. It looks like the F-15 will be fitted out with the IRST system from F-14s.
You can check it out at Flight Global.

Also notice that the end of the article states that Boeing is near closing a deal on a risk sharing partnership for the development of the Silent Eagle.
 

F-14D

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Sundog said:
Hi guys,
I thought you would find this interesting. I did anyway. It looks like the F-15 will be fitted out with the IRST system from F-14s.
You can check it out at Flight Global.

Also notice that the end of the article states that Boeing is near closing a deal on a risk sharing partnership for the development of the Silent Eagle.


I hope that, unlike the Super Bug, they won't have to drop the million dollar IRST if they have to clean up for ACM.
 

TomS

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F-14D said:
I hope that, unlike the Super Bug, they won't have to drop the million dollar IRST if they have to clean up for ACM.

The IRST centerline tank on the Super Hornet is not jettisonable (except I assume in an emergency jettison.) Keeping one relatively small tank going into ACM isn't going to be a major problem for a plane that big.
 

Lampshade111

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F-14D said:
I hope that, unlike the Super Bug, they won't have to drop the million dollar IRST if they have to clean up for ACM.

I too have found that decision rather questionable. If not a housing incorporated into the airframe like F-35 EOTS, wouldn't just adopting something like the Sniper XR advanced targeting pod make more sense?
 

sferrin

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Lampshade111 said:
F-14D said:
I hope that, unlike the Super Bug, they won't have to drop the million dollar IRST if they have to clean up for ACM.

I too have found that decision rather questionable. If not a housing incorporated into the airframe like F-35 EOTS, wouldn't just adopting something like the Sniper XR advanced targeting pod make more sense?

It seems to be about par for the course with the "Super" Hornet. Goes quite well with all of it's air brakes, er. . .pylons.
 

Lampshade111

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Does the canting on the pylons have that much of an effect? If so wouldn't the Navy or Boeing done something by now?

Personally I think the FA-18E and FA-18F are fine aircraft if you take them for what they are. A medium sized, multi-purpose, "low cost" design. Yet despite the AESA radar and everything they pack into it, it is not a true air-superiority aircraft, or a long range strike aircraft. I would be prefer it if the Navy had a larger NATF type design or even the Super Tomcat. The Super Hornet should have been a replacement for the standard Hornet, not the backbone of naval aviation.
 

F-14D

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TomS said:
F-14D said:
I hope that, unlike the Super Bug, they won't have to drop the million dollar IRST if they have to clean up for ACM.

The IRST centerline tank on the Super Hornet is not jettisonable (except I assume in an emergency jettison.) Keeping one relatively small tank going into ACM isn't going to be a major problem for a plane that big.

My understanding it that the IRST is going into modified standard Super Bug centerline tanks, and those are jettisonable if the need arises (close in ACM). Fuel capacity of the tanks is reduced 25-30%. Now, you may not want to jettison the tank, given what you'll lose, but I find it hard to believe the Navy deliberately would saddle our crews with such a restriction. Of course, this begs the question: I thought the -18E/F was supposed to have all kinds of internal room for growth. It's about the same size as the -14, and this was one of the selling points. Why couldn't the IRST be mounted like on the Tomcat?
 

Lampshade111

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Could vibrations from firing the M61A2 cause problems? This was a concern with the radar back when the original Hornet was in development.
 

F-14D

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Lampshade111 said:
Does the canting on the pylons have that much of an effect? If so wouldn't the Navy or Boeing done something by now?

Personally I think the FA-18E and FA-18F are fine aircraft if you take them for what they are. A medium sized, multi-purpose, "low cost" design. Yet despite the AESA radar and everything they pack into it, it is not a true air-superiority aircraft, or a long range strike aircraft. I would be prefer it if the Navy had a larger NATF type design or even the Super Tomcat. The Super Hornet should have been a replacement for the standard Hornet, not the backbone of naval aviation.

If you're talking about the outward cant, I believe it has two effects. Drag goes up a bit, and range goes down a bit. Also, this reduces the so called "Frontal stealth" claimed for the Super Bug (which actually only applies if it's clean.

I think the cant came about because of a semantic game that occurred early when the E/F was being sold to the world.. The wording was that the E/F had two more stations to carry weapons. This was true. there were two more stations to carry weapons. However, the inner pylons when pointed straight ahead as originally designed, did not meet the requirements for safe clearance from the fuselage. So, although you could indeed carry powered weapons on the inner pylons, you couldn't fire them from those pylons as originally designed. They would have been restricted to fuel tanks or unpowered weapons. The solution was to cant the inner, and consequently all other to avoid conflicts, pylons outward a bit in order to meet safe clearance requirements.

Or so I understand.

Remember, if there had been an NATF, A/FX, Super Tomcat 21 or even continued production and upgrade of the F-14D, there would be no need for the F/A-18E/F.
 

F-14D

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Lampshade111 said:
Could vibrations from firing the M61A2 cause problems? This was a concern with the radar back when the original Hornet was in development.

Don't forget, there was an M61 in the nose of the Tomcat
 

Lampshade111

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Oh, I hadn't seen a F-14 up-close in so long, I kinda figured it was located on the shoulder. Need to dig up one of my reference books and refresh myself on the F-14.

Regarding the need for the FA-18E/F, If the NATF had entered service and the A-12 had still been canceled, there would still have been the need for an attack aircraft with greater range and payload than the Hornet. I don't believe a ground attack capability was ever planned for the NATF, correct? Even if we had gone with the Super Tomcat 21 I imagine a relatively low cost replacement for the Hornet would be wanted sooner or later. Hornet 2000/Super Hornet could have provided that.

When the A-X become A/F-X was the intent to replace the regular Hornet among the A-6, etc? If the Navy had gotten a flood of cash and permission to do what they wanted, would they have perused a separate F-14 replacement after or along with the A/F-X, or one of the proposed upgrades for the F-14?
 

Abraham Gubler

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F-14D said:
Of course, this begs the question: I thought the -18E/F was supposed to have all kinds of internal room for growth. It's about the same size as the -14, and this was one of the selling points. Why couldn't the IRST be mounted like on the Tomcat?

Money. There is the volume for IRST inside the E/F but it costs a lot less to integrate ISRT into a fuel tank than it would to integrate it into the aircraft and then have the aircraft's changed aerodynamics be recertified.

As to jettisoning the IRST you are only going to do this when it comes down to do anything to stay alive. The E/F can do some pretty wild stuff with external stores. The standard air show routine configuration for E/Fs these days is four big draggy, underwing pylons and 2,000 lbs of stores (AMRAAM, LGB or JDAM capture carry dummies).
 

F-14D

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Abraham Gubler said:
F-14D said:
Of course, this begs the question: I thought the -18E/F was supposed to have all kinds of internal room for growth. It's about the same size as the -14, and this was one of the selling points. Why couldn't the IRST be mounted like on the Tomcat?

Money. There is the volume for IRST inside the E/F but it costs a lot less to integrate ISRT into a fuel tank than it would to integrate it into the aircraft and then have the aircraft's changed aerodynamics be recertified.

As to jettisoning the IRST you are only going to do this when it comes down to do anything to stay alive. The E/F can do some pretty wild stuff with external stores. The standard air show routine configuration for E/Fs these days is four big draggy, underwing pylons and 2,000 lbs of stores (AMRAAM, LGB or JDAM capture carry dummies).

That's a credible rationale, although I note that (with the possible exception of the F-15, unless it is built into the pylon) everybody else seems to be able to put it internal. Also, the Hornet has always been a "blessed" program in that Congress always has made available just about whatever money was asked for. The F-35 is the first competing program that has ever put a damper on that. My point in my previous post was that one of the many rationales strongly pushed for the E/F was that it was supposed to have all this internal room relative to the C/D to add new systems, yet now that one of those systems has arrived, it's being mounted externally in a less benign environment.


On the F-15, does anyone know yet if it's be an external store or built into a pylon, as was proposed for the FLIR on the A-7F (the story of which I'll get to someday)?
 

Sundog

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F-14D said:
On the F-15, does anyone know yet if it's be an external store or built into a pylon, as was proposed for the FLIR on the A-7F (the story of which I'll get to someday)?

From the article I posted the link to at the top;

Unlike the F/A-18's IRST pod, which is mounted at the front of a fuel tank, the F-15 version will feature a sleeker pod design mounted on its "Station 5" stores pylon, says Brad Jones, Boeing's F-15 radar modernisation programme manager. A similar pod has already been supplied for South Korea's F-15K fleet.

Although mounted on the aircraft's belly, the long-range sensor will have the ability to look up by 5°, Jones says. As a passive sensor, the IRST pod will augment the F-15C/D fleet's mechanically and electronically scanned radars to search for enemy aircraft and missiles at very long range, he adds.

Apparently they don't expect their opponents to fly at higher altitudes than they do. I can't help thinking this has more to do with cruise missile defense than it actually does A2A combat. Either that or it's range capabilities are so great, 5 degrees is all you need to see what's above you at a distance. Which should give some warning, but it sure won't be tracking. Does this mean PAK-FA won't be operating near F-22 territory? ;)
 

F-14D

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Sundog said:
F-14D said:
On the F-15, does anyone know yet if it's be an external store or built into a pylon, as was proposed for the FLIR on the A-7F (the story of which I'll get to someday)?

From the article I posted the link to at the top;

Unlike the F/A-18's IRST pod, which is mounted at the front of a fuel tank, the F-15 version will feature a sleeker pod design mounted on its "Station 5" stores pylon, says Brad Jones, Boeing's F-15 radar modernisation programme manager. A similar pod has already been supplied for South Korea's F-15K fleet.

Although mounted on the aircraft's belly, the long-range sensor will have the ability to look up by 5°, Jones says. As a passive sensor, the IRST pod will augment the F-15C/D fleet's mechanically and electronically scanned radars to search for enemy aircraft and missiles at very long range, he adds.

Apparently they don't expect their opponents to fly at higher altitudes than they do. I can't help thinking this has more to do with cruise missile defense than it actually does A2A combat. Either that or it's range capabilities are so great, 5 degrees is all you need to see what's above you at a distance. Which should give some warning, but it sure won't be tracking. Does this mean PAK-FA won't be operating near F-22 territory? ;)

With an IRST it's always a tradeoff where it goes. Except in the very nose, some of its view is going to be blocked by the fuselage. Sometimes this is addressed by how the a/c postions itself. On the F-14D, the IRST could track, "...at Phoenix ranges". It's also worthy of note that a variant of this sensor is used on the YAL-1 airborne laser.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Sundog said:
Apparently they don't expect their opponents to fly at higher altitudes than they do. I can't help thinking this has more to do with cruise missile defense than it actually does A2A combat. Either that or it's range capabilities are so great, 5 degrees is all you need to see what's above you at a distance. Which should give some warning, but it sure won't be tracking. Does this mean PAK-FA won't be operating near F-22 territory? ;)

Well this isn't quite true. The look up angle of an under fuselage or underwing ISRT is more than enough to enable tactical detection of much higher flying aircraft.

As to pod vs internal the funding for the Super Hornet 'Flight Path' (or is it Flight Plan? Always forget) of upgrades is a US Navy initiative without much Congressional interest and is of course competing with lots of other stuff. Saving a few million or tens of millions with the pod solution was needed to enable it to go ahead (discussion with the Project Manager).
 

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