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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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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.


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
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
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.

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