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Boeing thinks the EA-18 Growler is the most likely version to be purchased by the US

One of the staples U.S. Navy for a number of years has been the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet fighter. However, reports indicate that the new U.S. defense budget that is set to be unveiled next month has no allowance for purchasing new versions of the fighter.
 
New purchases of the electronic attack version called the EA-18G Growler are also nonexistent. Some in Washington want to continue to purchase the aircraft with a $75 million defense appropriations bill that would call for the purchase of 22 new aircraft. Boeing, the maker of the Super Hornet, also wants the military to purchase more EA-18G aircraft.

 
The Hornet has been around since the 1970's and replaced the F-14 Tomcat and A-6 Prowler. When the last orders are completed, the Navy will have 563 Super Hornets and 138 Growlers. The current orders will have production of the aircraft continuing through 2016.
 
Boeing says that 90,000 full time jobs around the country are dependent on Super Hornet production, and the company is currently shopping the jet to foreign nations now. Boeing had hoped to court Brazil with the purchase of 36 Super Hornets, but concerns over the NSA’s spying program led the Latin American country into the arms of Sweden and its Saab JAS-39 Gripen NG.
 
The existing Super Hornets will be supplemented by the troubled (and expensive) F-35 Lightning II for U.S. Navy duties.

Source: Defense News



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Great Jet
By homerdog on 2/18/2014 10:17:22 AM , Rating: 2
One of the all time greats IMO. Will continue to serve well into the future. Not convinced that the CATOBAR F-35 is enough of an improvement to justify the astronomical cost..




RE: Great Jet
By atechfan on 2/18/14, Rating: -1
RE: Great Jet
By lagomorpha on 2/18/14, Rating: 0
RE: Great Jet
By Bubbacub on 2/18/2014 11:12:14 AM , Rating: 1
that does assume that a single engine fighter with a tiny (internal) payload is an improvement over a superhornet for a carrier.

actually put some worthwhile payload on the f35 and its stealth goes out of the window making it essentially a very expensive like for like replacement with no room for error in terms of engine failure.

lockmart and co have done well out of the deal.

its is sad to see the same organisations do the armed forces what they have done to NASA over the last forty years - pork, waste, more pork and shit for an end product - thus forcing the cycle to restart as soon as current develoment ends.


RE: Great Jet
By sorry dog on 2/18/2014 11:42:09 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
actually put some worthwhile payload on the f35 and its stealth goes out of the window making it essentially a very expensive like for like replacement with no room for error in terms of engine failure.


I has read from folks that work on them that the number of one engine fighters lost from engine failure is no greater than those with two engines.

Also, considering radar return figures aren't exactly published it's hard to say how stealthy the "C" is with external payload.

The development may not be so smooth and maybe it costs more than it should but that doesn't mean it's a bad plane. Besides, at 90mil the Growler ain't really a bargain either.

One definite advantage it has is range which has always been one of hornet's shortcomings in both iterations.


RE: Great Jet
By MrBlastman on 2/18/2014 1:49:40 PM , Rating: 3
18,000 lbs of internal fuel is a big deal. The single engine is more fuel efficient and not having to carry drop tanks helps reduce the RCS considerably, not to mention reduce drag (though drag on drop tanks is relatively small compared with other ordinance).

My only complaint is they should have put an even bigger engine in it. You can never have enough thrust. :) The glass cockpit in the F-35 is really nice, too. Plus, it even has a side stick controller which earns huge bonus points!

People think it is weird when they see my simming setup and I have my stick on the side of my chair. They always wonder why not between the legs. Only after you fly with it long enough will you truly realize the benefits.

I've always thought the whole argument of two engines being superior to one a flawed one. Truth be told, most airplanes are harder (and more dangerous) to fly when one of two engines go out than a single-engine plane. Also, think about this: If you have twice as many engines, you are twice as likely to eventually have a problem than not.

In the end, for all fighter jocks... the goal is "one pass, haul ass." Drop your ordinance and run while never taking any hits. With proper pre-flight planning and situational awareness, you can significantly increase the odds of your run being successful. If you do this often enough the cost savings of running single-engine jets for strike missions becomes clear. Save the twin-engine jets for the interceptor roles.


RE: Great Jet
By flyingpants1 on 2/18/2014 2:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
It just occurred to me that the Oculus Rift would be PERFECT for a flight sim or a flying game like Ace Combat. It solves all control problems associated with the Rift.


RE: Great Jet
By MrBlastman on 2/18/2014 2:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well us flying nuts already have Track IR and have been using it for years. It is an essential piece of equipment, actually, once you get used to it. Being able to look around the world freely and interact with it using your head is indescribable unless you have experienced it.

Oculus is pretty exciting! It does what Track IR does... plus tapes two monitors to your head. :) The only thing I worry about is not being able to interact with your simpit--panels, gauges, MFDs etc.

So, for simming... I see Oculus being a neat diversion; for for the true hardcore guys, I bet we'll see most of them use Track IR. Some people I know have built "caves" with projectors, fresnel lenses and complete cockpits. You have to see it to believe it.


RE: Great Jet
By Solandri on 2/18/2014 3:18:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've always thought the whole argument of two engines being superior to one a flawed one. Truth be told, most airplanes are harder (and more dangerous) to fly when one of two engines go out than a single-engine plane.

A two-engine plane with one engine is much safer and easier to fly than a one-engine plane with one engine out.

quote:
Also, think about this: If you have twice as many engines, you are twice as likely to eventually have a problem than not.

This really depends on the reliability rate. The number you're really after is in the in-service rate, not the failure rate. At low reliability rates, what you say is more or less true. e.g. at a 50% failure rate:

A 1-engine plane will be in service 50% of the time.

A 2-engine plane will have one engine out 50% of the time, both engines out 25% of the time. It will thus be in service only 25% of the time.

So at a 50% reliability rate, what you say is true and the 1-engine plane is in service twice as long as the 2-engine plane.

But if the failure rate is 1%, the 1-engine plane is in service 99% of the time, the 2-engine plane is in service 98% of the time. And there's really not much difference between the two. Yes the 2-engine plane is out of service twice as much, but it's so infrequent that it doesn't affect the in-service rate significantly - the single-engine plane is in service only 1% more than the two-engine plane.


RE: Great Jet
By NAVAIR on 2/18/2014 3:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wish your figure's were that simple...


RE: Great Jet
By Reclaimer77 on 2/18/2014 3:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Text I've always thought the whole argument of two engines being superior to one a flawed one. Truth be told, most airplanes are harder (and more dangerous) to fly when one of two engines go out than a single-engine plane


But they can at least fly :)


RE: Great Jet
By amanojaku on 2/18/2014 3:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
It seems as if you and I are the only people on this site who don't hate the F-35. From what I read, people think the F-35 is crap because it isn't the F-22. They don't seem to understand the concept of roles. The F-22 is an air-superiority fighter, the F-35 is a multi-role fighter. The two work together; the F-35 is not a replacement for the F-22. Granted, the F-35 is now way over budget, but that's the fault of the government for reducing the orders, changing the project requirements, and not holding Lockheed Martin responsible for other cost increases (like the test X-35 not having weapons bays, leading to increased weight that had to be trimmed when building the production F-35). And the F-22 was discontinued to make way for a new air superiority fighter that has not been designed yet.

As to twinjets vs. single engines, the reason for two engines is historical. Early single-engine supersonic jet fighters were not thoroughly tested. Notably, the F-104 Starfighter was nicknamed the "Widowmaker", because Germany lost 30% due to accidents, and Canada lost 55%. Adding a second engine would not have helped, as it turns out the engines were faulty, and the plane poorly designed. It was later discovered that Lockheed had been bribing government officials worldwide to buy its jets from the 50s to the 70s. Who needs to build a reliable plane when you've got a guaranteed sale?

The F-16 is a single-engine jet, and it does not have a notable failure record. It is one of the most successful jets in history, with over 4500 built and current models flying until 2025.


RE: Great Jet
By TheEquatorialSky on 2/18/2014 7:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
The F104 was not poorly designed!

It was a point design, intended to intercept Russian bombers at Mach 2+. You have to acknowledge engine technology in the 1950s. Turbojets had poor power and horrible efficiency. Note that the J79 was a single spool engine. Single spools have all but disappeared, save for the Snecma M53 of Mirage 2000 fame.

To reach Mach 2 with such a constraint, the aircraft had to be extremely efficient. Supersonic drag consists primarily of shockwave and skin friction. Shockwave drag is mitigated by keeping the wings inside the shock cone. Low skin friction is aided by low wing area. Combine the two and you get a stubby, straight wing aircraft (with a wing loading over 100lbs/sq.ft!). To lower the landing speed, Lockheed added blown flaps. While the system wasn't necessary for landing, engine loss would significantly alter low speed flying qualities.

Germany had a tough time with the aircraft because they treated a point-design aircraft as a multirole fighter, provided poor transition training and kept modifying the aircraft until it was overweight. The F104 was a fine aircraft, it's just that its niche disappeared long before its active duty status in armies around the world.


RE: Great Jet
By Bubbacub on 2/19/2014 6:47:39 AM , Rating: 2
I guess the design requirements were poorly set then for a fighter which was sold as a multirole fighter bomber to NATO members in a rather dishonest fashion (1). Going by the corporate lobbying, delays and reduction in performance of the f35 it seems as if lockmart havent changed a bit over the last 70 years.

1:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_F-104_Starfi...


RE: Great Jet
By TheEquatorialSky on 2/19/2014 5:57:50 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the aircraft was misrepresented when sold to NATO forces, but the F104 as designed by Kelly Johnson was a fine aircraft.

Use a Tesla Model S as a 3/4 ton pickup and it will seem like an unreliable hunk-of-junk. Use a Tesla Model S as it was designed and most people will consider it a fine automobile. Shame on Tesla if they try to sell it as a pickup, but the car will remain as a hallmark of design regardless.


RE: Great Jet
By Reclaimer77 on 2/18/2014 11:20:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
From what I read, people think the F-35 is crap because it isn't the F-22. They don't seem to understand the concept of roles. The F-22 is an air-superiority fighter, the F-35 is a multi-role fighter.


Yeah be sure to tell that guy trying to kill you 'wait, time out, this isn't my "role"' lol.

Anyway it seems like the F-22 was shi&canned to make way for the "cheaper" F-35. That's why people resent the F-35. Not sure it has anything to do with it's roles, or how poorly it fills them, as it turns out.

Besides, for a fraction of the cost of the F-35 program, a multi-role variant of the Raptor could have EASILY been put into service. Sure, not a CATOBAR, but that's not working out so good for the F-35 anyway.


RE: Great Jet
By Bubbacub on 2/19/2014 8:03:19 AM , Rating: 3
people dislike the f35 not because it is a terrible aircraft.

but because lockmart/bae have managed to get both the US and UK governments over a barrel and have been pumping away the last 7-8 years.

the ammortised cost of an f35 (with a production run of many thousands) is higher than the f22 (with a production run of 187).

for less money we could have thousands of f22's in the US. partner nations could be sold a watered down version.

i don't believe the integrity of the law that congress laid down that banned export of the f22 - that law was bought and paid for by lockheed so that they could waste/steal billions of taxpayers money by developing the f35.

we happily sold f15's to partner nations in the seventies when there was a real risk of a shooting war with the USSR without any worries about letting advanced technology escape the US.

to sumarise the issue is not the aircraft - the issue is the dishonest theft of taxpayers money to enrich lockmart and dump less capable aircraft on the USAF/RAF etc.

if the f35 cost ~50-60 million an aircraft nobody would have an issue with it.


RE: Great Jet
By lagomorpha on 2/21/2014 2:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
for less money we could have thousands of f22's in the US. partner nations could be sold a watered down version.


For less money than has been spent on the F35 we could have had enough F22s to keep the Air-Force happy, plus an F16 replacement for multi-role/export, plus an F/A-18 replacement, plus found some expensive toy to keep the Marines happy because, "STFU the Army isn't allowed to have its own fighter wing so you shouldn't get one either".

The problem is making one aircraft to satisfy 3 very different requirements was always going to end up being either extremely expensive or extremely mediocre.


RE: Great Jet
By eldakka on 2/18/2014 5:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've always thought the whole argument of two engines being superior to one a flawed one


In the earlier days of jet engines, reliability was suspect.

Therefore aircraft that were intended to fly over vast swathes of wilderness where there are no nearby emergency landing areas (e.g ocean, tractless un/sparsely inhabited areas such as most of Australia, Siberia, northern Canada etc) tended to require a second engine with the aircraft fully capable of flying on one engine. It is not really 'more difficult' to fly an aircraft when one engine fails as they are designed to be capable of flight on one engine. Especially fighter aircraft that have side-by-side rear engines, not a lot of difference in the center of thrust as compared to say an aircraft with wing-mounted engines. Performance obviously suffers (speed, payload, agility), but thats about it.

In the last 30 years engine reliability has grown such that the chance of an engine failing mechanically is incredibly small, therefore the 2nd engine requirement has become less (tho not un) important. Of course, military aircraft have more to worry about than standard mechanical failure, such as battle damage, therefore twin-engined combat aircraft are still often preferable for the redundancy.

But yes, it is a tradeoff, 2 engines = more weight, more maintenance, more cost, than a single engine but greater battle damage resilience.

It's a cost thing, thats why the F-22 has 2 engines, but the 'cheaper workhorse' F-35 has one. Most of the air-to-air opposition is supposed to be eliminated by the F-22 before the F-35 gets anywhere near the area. So cost efficiency is a more important factor for the F-35 which is, to be honest, mostly designed as a bomb-truck, vs the F-22.


RE: Great Jet
By Nfarce on 2/19/2014 10:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've always thought the whole argument of two engines being superior to one a flawed one. Truth be told, most airplanes are harder (and more dangerous) to fly when one of two engines go out than a single-engine plane.


That generally refers to engines that are hung out on the wings, giving a large yaw movement with an engine out. The closer to the center line of the fuselage the engines are (like mounted on the tail) the less that yaw. The more the yaw, the more the drag is induced from the control surface deflections used to keep the aircraft straight and level (rudder and aileron specifically). That's where airspeed management and maintaining V-speeds for single engine operations are critical (and most dangerous). I've only flown single engine as a private pilot, but I have flown several Level-D airline simulators, from a 737-700 to a Canadair CRJ-700. When I had an engine shut on the CRJ, barely any rudder and aileron trim was needed to continue flying. With the 737 engine out we did, it required much more rudder and aileron input and trim.

It's also situations like this where you better have done your weight and balance calculations accurately. Many private pilots did not in one or both instances, and it got them, and anyone with them killed (and some on the ground too). A former chief pilot who checked me out for my PPL crashed a Cessna 421 after an engine went out right after takeoff and was "only" 75lbs overweight. With both engines operating, it wouldn't have missed a beat. But with one engine out just after that critical takeoff speed, that extra 75 pounds did them in. They all lived after slamming between two buildings and skidding across a parking lot without the wings, left between the two buildings they went through...would have made a hell of a movie crash sequence.


RE: Great Jet
By BRB29 on 2/21/2014 10:43:04 AM , Rating: 2
"Truth be told, most airplanes are harder (and more dangerous) to fly when one of two engines go out than a single-engine plane"

Actual engineers and pilots have claimed that having losing 1 engine when you have 2 is better than losing your only engine. You don't even need to be a pilot to know that. You lose the plane in a crash or you lose maneuverability and head home on limp mode. Which would you choose?...and yes the plane flies just fine on one engine. If you ever watched the documentary of the engineers and test pilots, they designed and tested it that way.

Also, maintenance and reliability takes a small hit when going to 2 engines. However, if you ever check maintenance logs, most problems comes are not engine problems as long as they are maintained properly. Since every squadron has teams dedicated to each plane, there is little to worry about having 2 engines. Electronics and sensors seems to go out faster than anything. Yes I worked in a Squadron under 2nd MAW in Cherry Point, NC. I've read plenty of maintenance logs.

On actual operations and training having two engines has pros and cons.

Pros:
1. 2 engines normally produce more thrust
2. When one engine fails, you can still get back home instead of losing the whole plane, pilot and causing collateral damage.
3. 2 engines can be more efficient when cruising at high speed. This depends on efficiency at different levels.

Cons
1. 2 engines are normally heavier than 1. It could lower range in small jet with a small fuel tank.
2. normally lower maneuverability
3. twice the chance of engine failure

For the F35 that is supposed to be a one platform fits all, having 2 engines is better than one from a design perspective covering all the checklists. Don't expect it to do anything extraordinary as it is not specific purpose built. But it should be a good fit for most missions.

If you still have doubts about 2 engines vs 1. There are plenty of pilots that had to lose a plane because they sucked in a bird. Ask them what they would rather have for most flights.


RE: Great Jet
By BRB29 on 2/21/2014 10:54:09 AM , Rating: 2
BTW, I know some people will say "well, losing one engine will throw the plane off balance and you'll crash anyways"

Yes, that is true depending on where the engine is. I don't expect an Osprey to stay in flight losing an engine. However, the F35 are made with engines closer to the center and can keep some maneuverability with one engine. It should stay in flight unless it has other damages as well.


RE: Great Jet
By NAVAIR on 2/18/2014 3:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
I can atest to witnessing and being involved in numerous single engine failures of twin engine carrier based aircraft...


RE: Great Jet
By Jeffk464 on 2/18/2014 3:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
led the Latin American country into the arms of Sweden and its Saab JAS-39 Gripen NG.


Good for Brazil, I can't believe there hasn't been more blow back from countries.


RE: Great Jet
By TheEquatorialSky on 2/18/2014 7:42:25 PM , Rating: 3
I say good for Brazil because the Gripen is a fine, cost-effective aircraft. It's a shame politics ended the functionally similar F20 Tigershark program.

I think the legacy of the F22/F35 will be the impetus it provided militaries around the world to shift of unmanned aircraft.


RE: Great Jet
By inperfectdarkness on 2/18/2014 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
And yet, you ask any hornet pilot, and he/she will tell you they prefer flying the legacy hornets. Better thrust/weight ratio on the legacy.


RE: Great Jet
By Amiga500 on 2/18/2014 4:30:39 PM , Rating: 3
Are you kidding?

A POS airframe built on an almost as bad airframe (the legacy Hornet).

The USN's sphere of influence has decreased by about a half due to the "Super" Hornet.

A Tomcat21 would have done an infinitely better job.


RE: Great Jet
By inperfectdarkness on 2/19/2014 1:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
...except that the Tomcat required about 3x as many Mx hours per flight hour, as the Hornet. It was--honestly--despite all its perks, a piece of junk. The F-111 (which is a very similar airplane in many ways) was equally garbage. The only variable-sweep aircraft that was ever close to worth it's salt was the Tornado. Not the Fencer, not the Tomcat, not the Aardvark, and not the Flogger.


RE: Great Jet
By Amiga500 on 2/19/2014 1:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
The maintenance complaints have grown out of all reality since the -14 was retired.

At the time of retirement it was being compared to the typical maintenance of brand new airframes as a reason for justifying the USN's selection of the "Super" Hornet.


RE: Great Jet
By Reclaimer77 on 2/19/2014 4:19:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It was--honestly--despite all its perks, a piece of junk.


The greatest carrier-based aircraft we've ever had and probably ever WILL have, if the F-35 is any indicator, was a piece of junk??

I'm going to call Tom Cruise and tell him you said that.


RE: Great Jet
By TheEquatorialSky on 2/20/2014 2:48:36 AM , Rating: 2
I remember being surprised hearing an ex-Navy pilot describe the F-14 with disdain -- good engines, bad airframe, flew like a truck.

The thing also killed Goose, man. GOOSE!


RE: Great Jet
By Reclaimer77 on 2/20/2014 3:57:32 PM , Rating: 2
"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone














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