Skip to comments.Boeing shows off new Super Hornet display
Posted on 04/17/2012 9:24:43 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Boeing shows off new Super Hornet display
Boeing is showing off some of the advanced features it is proposing for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Some of these include conformal fuel tanks, an external weapons pod to reduce the jet's radar cross-section, better engines, and a new missile warning system among other improvements.
Inside the cockpit (both cockpits in the case of the F-model) is a new single-screen color LCD display. But what is truly impressive is a new 3D situational awareness display mode--it overlays various threats and displays them in an easy to understand graphic. Terrain can be overlaid on the display along with color-coded contours.
What's more, airborne enemy threats are displayed as color-coded aircraft-shaped icons appropriate to their type. The same goes for the engagement radius of surface-to-air missile systems and the like. Apparently, according to the Boeing engineer who was showing me the setup, the jet already collects that data, it's just that there is no way to display it in the current Block II cockpit.
Here are a few images I took of the cockpit the company was showing off at the Navy League's Sea Air Space Exposition. Forgive the poor quality; I was using a Blackberry camera...
Sorry the flash caused some problems...
Anyways, the demonstrator actually runs the real flight-model for the F/A-18E/F according to the Boeing software engineer, who works on the system. But it doesn't model the new engines or other proposed mods and, of course, the avionics and weapons are dumbed down for public display.
Nonetheless, when I flew the demonstrator, the aircraft handled remarkably well (at least compared to anything I have flown). Incidentally, using that 3D situational awareness display, I shot down three Flankers with AMRAAMs effortlessly, but of course, they weren't shooting back. I then killed the last one with the gun, again, a piece of cake... but alas, it was dumbed down since he wasn't shooting back.
But I did land on the carrier with no help whatsoever or even having the dude talk me down on my first (and only try). I wonder if it was dumbed down, even if my engineer acquaintance insists that it's not. The Boeing demo pilots practice on it, he says. Still seems too easy...
Because they were esentially hand-built, with under 70 built with no two exactly alike; they were extremely expensive as first generation stealth aircraft to maintain, especially the RAM coatings; they had a very limited payload; and they were useless in any role other than stealth strike of high value, well defended targets. Plus, they served for 25 years, which isn't exactly "so soon."
And at the risk of beating a dead horse, the F-35A and F-35C have no "thrust vectoring" whatsoever, unlike the the F-22, or the Russian Su-30 and Su-37.
The F-111 was the aircraft I worked on when I was in the Air Force.
The EF-111A Raven was unarmed. It received it's "kill" when the pursuing Iraqi Mirage couldn't pull up while chasing the EF-111A, and crashed into the ground.
>>Plus, they served for 25 years, which isn’t exactly “so soon.”<<
As opposed to the craft I have cited so many times?
* F/16 Falcon: service date circa 1976 (36 years) (n: 4,500+ of these puppies have been built and deployed)
* F(A)/18 (Super) Hornet service date circa 1984 (28 years)
* F/15 Eagle service date circa 1976 (36 years)
But your argument about the difficulties in keeping the F-117 (entered service 1988 so your number of years of service is good) are compelling. My point is that stealth as a “game changer” clearly wasn’t sufficient to keep it.
>>And at the risk of beating a dead horse, the F-35A and F-35C have no “thrust vectoring” whatsoever, unlike the the F-22, or the Russian Su-30 and Su-37.<<
Yes, said horse is dead. My point is still alive — thrust vectoring, whether on a variant of the F-35, the F-22 or my 2001 sedan (now a red golf ball courtesy of the tornadoes we enjoyed in the Dallas area) is still an incremental change, as opposed to a fundamental change.
>>The EF-111A Raven was unarmed. It received it’s “kill” when the pursuing Iraqi Mirage couldn’t pull up while chasing the EF-111A, and crashed into the ground. <<
Smarter piloting is even cooler. If I was a pilot who defeated a bandit by never firing a shot my chest would be puffed out for the rest of my life! :)
But I still say every milcraft should have gunnage!
There is a difference between how long an aircraft type has been in use, and how long a specific airframe has been in use.
The F-117 airframes were 25 years old when they were retired. F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s are still in production, so you can have zero hour airframes of those types.
There are very few 25 year old F-15, F-16, or F/A-18 airframes flying in the US inventory today.