Skip to comments.Super Hornet fights for survival
Posted on 02/20/2014 12:16:52 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Rejections by India and more recently Brazil combined with the looming end to a multi-year procurement deal for the US Navy mean that the pressure is mounting on Boeing to secure extra orders for its versatile Super Hornet.
As things stand, the last F/A-18E/F or EA-18G Growler will roll off the line in St Louis, Missouri before the end of 2016, with the USN and Royal Australian Air Force the buyers so far. As you can read in my colleague Jon Hemmerdingers report on the situation, thats not a major problem for the manufacturer for now, but Washington finding funds for more in its fiscal year 2015 budget planning is described as a critical requirement.
Boeing has a proven multi-role aircraft available for a reported $52 million that its really struggled to shift internationally. From a long list of legacy Hornet operators, only Australia has gone for the new model, although fellow users Canada, Kuwait and Malaysia are now considering their future fighter options. Other potential buyers include Denmark.
The big question is whether the raft of Advanced Super Hornet (Boeing image above) options now on the table including engine and radar enhancements, conformal fuel tanks, a belly-mounted external weapons bay and infrared search and track sensor will make a difference? If these proposals fail to attract new buyers, as was the case with the stealthed-up F-15SE unsuccessfully pitched to South Korea, then we could see a second Boeing production line shut down, after its last C-17s are delivered next year.
We can expect some serious lobbying in Congress if the FY2015 proposal doesnt include more F/A-18s, but any move to plus-up would have to be at the expense of other procurements: maybe even a few F-35s? But might a few Super Hornets creep into the FY2015 bill anyway? A pre-solicitation note for 36 more was withdrawn last October, supposedly after being accidentally posted online.
- See more at: http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2014/02/super-hornet-fights-survival/#sthash.mmvZAu6q.dpuf
The F-35 is substantially less capable than the F-16 or the F-18. Stealth is tied in with computing capability. As more radars are networked and computing capability get’s cheaper we may find that the F-35 is a serious turkey and longer legs, maneuverability and firepower are much more important.
I was at Edwards in Flight test when the F-16 won over the F-17. The 16 won, but there were some interesting politics involved. The ‘17 morphed a bit and become the Hornet, which is indeed a very capable machine.
As for the F-35, methinks the performance per buck ratio is not optimum.
F-15E: Nearly so.
F/A-18E/F/G: Going, going...
Soon Boeing will be out of the defense business it inherited from their purchase of McDonnell Douglass.
Maybe they need to engineer an F/A-18 Silent Hornet?
What happened to the C17?
No more orders and our own military is saturated with them.
The French are offering very lucrative deals to buy and/or license produce the Dassault Rafale. India wants the plane, especially since India may have to end up buying a lot more planes due to problems with the joint Russian-Indian stealth fighter project.
Well, they engineered the F-15 Silent Eagle and that went exactly nowhere.
If you look at the image above, that is Boeing's attempt at an F/A-18 Silent Hornet.
It has a stealthy centerline weapons pod that reduces radar signature.
That is indeed sad news. I have flown several times in these magnificent birds and even as a tactical aviator, was impressed by the design. The cockpit is on par with the avionics in many fighters. They even have a HUD. We couldn’t even get those in the Prowler...