F-18E/F 2017

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post06 May 2019, 11:26

It does indeed depend totally on the target and conditions. Against very hot objects like rockets and missiles during boost phase, IRST systems will detect them at far longer ranges than fighter radar could.

Against non-stealthy aircraft, radar will detect them at longer ranges usually. Usually, because radars are much more susceptible to enemy countermeasures like jamming and chaff (if used in large quantities). However in most cases modern radars will still see further than IRST system. Especially during search where FoV needs to be kept fairly wide to cover decent patch of the sky. During tracking phase IRST might see the target further away if it has very narrow FoV. But then it's totally fixed to that one target and doesn't see anything else.

Against VLO targets, it gets really interesting. I think it's pretty plausible that IRST could detect such targets earlier than radar could. Especially if EW is also used against the radar. But that naturally depends on exact situation and sensor systems used.

All this leads to reason why sensor and data fusion is so important. All sensor technologies have their pros and cons and fusion can make a huge difference as it can combine the strengths of each technology.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post16 May 2019, 05:31

Boeing F/A-18E/F Super HORNET Block III Nuclear Capable by 2025

During the bi-annual Pre-Paris Air Show Media Tour in St. Louis, Boeing executives informed MONCh that their F/A-18E/F Super HORNET Block III multirole fighter jets will be be more stealthy, pack a more powerful punch, fly with increased stamina and carry a more robust communication and targeting system, as the US Navy awarded the company a U$4 billion contract for the production of 78 Block IIIs (61 single seat E’models and 17 two seat F models) to start being delivered by 2022.

"This year, Block III transitions into production and the last two Kuwaiti jets will be test jets delivered to the US Navy at end of this year," Boeing executives said in St. Louis.

F/A-18E/F Super HORNET Block III complements capabilities of E/A-18G & E-2D to optimize carrier air wings with an increased range (via conformal fuel tanks, over the wings in low drag configuration, opening up new weapon stations) and enhanced situational awareness via new advanced glass cockpit systems, flying today with the first Kuwaiti aircraft. Further features include advanced network connectivity via satellite communication (SATCOM), a 9,000 hour airframce and significant reduced signature (lower radar cross section) with coating on few additional hotspots. A common tactical picture is also added, i.e. long wave/range Infrared Search And Track Systems (IRST) (Program of Record independent of Block IIII), Distributed Targeting Processor Network (DTP-N) open architecture, multi-level secure processor and Collins Aerospace's Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) data link

Two jets are to be delivered this year and, according to Boeing, "all Block IIs will become Block IIIs via an upgrade program, delivered through 2033; 550 Block IIIs altogether."

As the Block III Super HORNET (and incidentally the E/A-18 GROWLER) will be offered to Germany to replace its fleet of aging TORNADOs, Boeing states during the Media tour that, "by 2025 we will have nuclear capability." The German Ministry of Defense is looking at the non-stealthy Eurofighter TYPHOON and F/A-18 Super HORNET and to replace Germany's 90 TORNADO aircraft set to retire in 2035, but the jets will have to carry nuclear weapons. The TYPHOON is not nuclear capable yet ,but a purchase of 45 Super HORNETs could complement 143 TYPHOONs.

https://www.monch.com/mpg/news/air/5450-f18blk3.html
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krieger22

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Unread post19 May 2019, 07:36

https://boeing.mediaroom.com/2018-03-01 ... rnet-Fleet

Boeing Receives U.S. Navy Contract to Modernize F/A-18 Super Hornet Fleet

ARLINGTON, Va., March 1, 2018 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] has been awarded a contract to modernize the U.S. Navy F/A-18 fleet, extending the life of existing Super Hornets from 6,000 to 9,000+ flight hours. In the early 2020s, Boeing will begin installing initial updates to the aircraft that will convert existing Block II Super Hornets to a new Block III configuration.

The Block III conversion will include enhanced network capability, longer range with conformal fuel tanks, an advanced cockpit system, signature improvements and an enhanced communication system. The updates are expected to keep the F/A-18 in active service for decades to come.

“The initial focus of this program will extend the life of the fleet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours,” said Mark Sears, SLM program director. “But SLM will expand to include Block II to Block III conversion, systems grooming and reset and O-level maintenance tasks designed to deliver a more maintainable aircraft with an extended life and more capability. Each of these jets will fly another 10 to 15 years, so making them next-generation aircraft is critical.”

The indefinite-delivery contract is for up to $73 million. Work begins in April on an initial lot of four aircraft at Boeing’s St. Louis production center. An additional production line will be established in San Antonio, Texas in 2019. Additional follow-on contracts could be awarded over the next 10 years. The U.S. Navy fleet consists of 568 Super Hornets.
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marsavian

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 00:22

US Navy flies F/A-18F Super Hornet with Infrared Search & Track Block II pod

https://www.flightglobal.com/fixed-wing ... 60.article

The US Navy (USN) for the first time in late 2019 flew an F/A-18F Super Hornet carrying an Infrared Search & Track (IRST) Block II pod under the centerline of its undercarriage.

The IRST Block II is in the risk reduction phase of development, says Boeing on 15 January. Flights at Boeing’s facilities in the St. Louis, Missouri area are to be used to collect data on how the hardware is performing.

The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Block III upgrade programme also includes enhanced networking and communication capabilities, conformal fuel tanks that extend the aircraft’s range [radius ?] by about 120nm (222km), a cockpit with a 21in touchscreen display, and a more powerful mission computer.

Boeing expects the IRST Block II pod to be delivered to the USN in 2021. It should reach Initial Operational Capability soon after the service receives it, the company says.


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madrat

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 02:11

What happens when you carry three tank-mounted IRST's?
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h-bomb

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 03:45

madrat wrote:What happens when you carry three tank-mounted IRST's?


IR Holograms??
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marsavian

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 04:55

Or slightly better passive range accuracy ?
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post16 Jan 2020, 05:03

you lose the ability to drop all three tanks instead of just one?
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mixelflick

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Unread post18 Jan 2020, 15:10

Who the hell thought this was a good idea? An IRST on the tip of a fuel tank, which can't be jettisoned. I would have thought an IRST probe on the engine nacelle hardpoints would have been a much better idea. Maybe I'm missing something, but this idea sounds pretty dumb.

Clearly not all jets will be carrying one, probably one or two in a formation. So they need to "hope" those particular F-18's don't get shot down, lest the IRST eyes be lost. I also question its actual utility. Has there ever been a truly effective IRST put on a fighter? I mean up until the advent of the F-35.

It sounds from reading like the Typhoon's PIRATE is one of the better ones, but even that capability seems marginal (compared to what it's advertised as)??
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35_aoa

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Unread post19 Jan 2020, 01:45

mixelflick wrote:Who the hell thought this was a good idea? An IRST on the tip of a fuel tank, which can't be jettisoned. I would have thought an IRST probe on the engine nacelle hardpoints would have been a much better idea. Maybe I'm missing something, but this idea sounds pretty dumb.


There were a lot of other (better) options, which were explored. Unfortunately, budget has the ultimate final say. The USN will always be perpetually caught in a battle of competing priorities, and we still have CVN, SSN/SSBN, CG and DDG to build which are monumentally expensive as you know. This concept saved a lot of money and got it to the fleet faster. That's the long and short of it.
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Unread post19 Jan 2020, 03:58

Does AIM-9X with the search while scan function of its IIR seeker tie into the rest of the sensors in Super Hornet? While not as capable, I'd hope it would help Super Hornet, too.
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geforcerfx

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Unread post19 Jan 2020, 08:43

35_aoa wrote:There were a lot of other (better) options, which were explored. Unfortunately, budget has the ultimate final say. The USN will always be perpetually caught in a battle of competing priorities, and we still have CVN, SSN/SSBN, CG and DDG to build which are monumentally expensive as you know. This concept saved a lot of money and got it to the fleet faster. That's the long and short of it.


Other than drag is there any limits on your G, roll, or AOA with a empty tank on centerline? I know centerline has the least drag since it's not canted like the wing tanks so drag penalty has got to be a lot lower and the CFT's should give a nice range boost over a 3 tank config used now.
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wrightwing

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Unread post20 Jan 2020, 02:26

geforcerfx wrote:
35_aoa wrote:There were a lot of other (better) options, which were explored. Unfortunately, budget has the ultimate final say. The USN will always be perpetually caught in a battle of competing priorities, and we still have CVN, SSN/SSBN, CG and DDG to build which are monumentally expensive as you know. This concept saved a lot of money and got it to the fleet faster. That's the long and short of it.


Other than drag is there any limits on your G, roll, or AOA with a empty tank on centerline? I know centerline has the least drag since it's not canted like the wing tanks so drag penalty has got to be a lot lower and the CFT's should give a nice range boost over a 3 tank config used now.

An empty centerline shouldn't have much if any restrictions. Performance should be far better now without the 2 wing tanks.
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35_aoa

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Unread post20 Jan 2020, 02:27

geforcerfx wrote:
35_aoa wrote:Other than drag is there any limits on your G, roll, or AOA with a empty tank on centerline?


No, there are not. Like you said, CL and CFT's would/will likely be a nice combo.
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marsavian

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Unread post20 Jan 2020, 02:53

IRST21 is big, the Legion Pods which house them for F-15/F-16 are 16" in diameter so at least the F-18 is getting some fuel with the sensor.

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/pr ... n-pod.html

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