The End is Near for F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet Production
February 18, 2014 9:19 AM
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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
F-35 Lightning II
for U.S. Navy duties.
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RE: Great Jet
2/18/2014 7:36:47 PM
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
2/19/2014 6:47:39 AM
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
2/19/2014 5:57:50 PM
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.
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