Super Hornet upgrades

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

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Unread post23 Sep 2018, 07:38

As Boeing inducts the first Super Hornet into its Service Life Modernization program and opens a new modernization facility in St Louis, Combat Aircraft October issue analyzes the latest status of the F/A-18E/F.

Boeing celebrated two milestone events on May 4; the official opening of its new Service Life Modification (SLM) facility in St Louis, Missouri, plus the induction of the first high-hour Block II Super Hornet — an F/A-18E — into this program. Boeing executives, including Boeing Defense president and CEO Dennis Muilenburg and US Navy RADM Michael T. Moran, the program executive officer for Tactical Aircraft Programs, were present to mark the event. The SLM facility is a boon for the St Louis area that — along with new Super Hornet production and upgrades — ensures jobs are safe through the mid-to-late 2020s and underscores a significant commitment by the Navy to maintain the Super Hornet’s strike fighter supremacy out past 2040. A second SLM line is being prepared in San Antonio, Texas, and it will begin receiving aircraft in 2019 as SLM runs out through fiscal year 2028.

The Navy awarded Boeing a $73 million indefinite-delivery contract on March 1, 2018, to extend the life of the first four of some 350 F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornets from their originally-designed 6,000 flight hours to 9,000 hours. The contract also included provision to upgrade the aircraft with new Block III standard capabilities.

With its origins in the Advanced Super Hornet concept that was first revealed in August 2013, the Block III upgrade is a more modest proposal designed to help the Super Hornet support the carrier air wing in the expected threat environments of the 2035s and beyond.

Block III adds five further main capability upgrades, as Dan Gillian explains. ‘Block III is a funded program of record and it is really five big changes to the established Super Hornet Flight Plan. First is the Conformal Fuel Tanks to extend the range of the Super Hornet. We’ll fly a Super Hornet with Conformal Fuel Tanks [CFTs] later this year, so development is well underway. Second is an advanced cockpit system — that’s a new 10 x 19-in display — that changes to a next-generation interface, like an iPad for an airplane. We’ll fly the first airplane with the advanced cockpit capability next year [2019].
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Unread post24 Sep 2018, 14:48

Based upon what the Navy is looking for in these Super Dupers, what can we surmise?

The CFT's seem to be the biggest "want".It's doubtful they want the additional range to hit land based targets, unless we're talking second day of war/after all the SAMs/IAD's are wiped out. Not sure what others think, but I'm thinking AMRAAM truck to pair with stealthy F-35's. The Hornet can carry an obscene number, something like 10-12?

With that big an external load though, I'm wondering if it'll be able to keep up with clean F-35C's...?
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Unread post24 Sep 2018, 15:15

No it won't.
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Unread post24 Sep 2018, 17:00

mixelflick wrote:It's doubtful they want the additional range to hit land based targets, unless we're talking second day of war/after all the SAMs/IAD's are wiped out. Not sure what others think, but I'm thinking AMRAAM truck to pair with stealthy F-35's.


Why is that?

SH will stay with airwings for decades to come, range improvement will benefit literally every mission a SH can perform.
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Unread post24 Sep 2018, 17:19

mixelflick wrote:Based upon what the Navy is looking for in these Super Dupers, what can we surmise?

The CFT's seem to be the biggest "want".It's doubtful they want the additional range to hit land based targets, unless we're talking second day of war/after all the SAMs/IAD's are wiped out. Not sure what others think, but I'm thinking AMRAAM truck to pair with stealthy F-35's. The Hornet can carry an obscene number, something like 10-12?

With that big an external load though, I'm wondering if it'll be able to keep up with clean F-35C's...?


The added range = less tanker support required, greater endurance (i.e. 20 to 30 minutes longer on station), and greater stand off range vs A2AD (allowing carriers to stay further from threats.) When combined with MQ-25s, Super Hornets and F-35Cs, will likely have a radius closer to 1000nm. When combined with JASSM-XR, it allows carriers to hit targets over 2000nm away.
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Unread post24 Sep 2018, 18:55

As missile truck are future for the 4th gen, but not with AIM-120, the real possibility is in the JASSM / LRASM. While protected by the curvature of Earth against SAMs, can be the ideal complement for the F-22/35, the latter being used exclusively in A-A and surface targets designator.
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Unread post25 Sep 2018, 09:54

rmr_22 wrote:As missile truck are future for the 4th gen, but not with AIM-120, the real possibility is in the JASSM / LRASM. While protected by the curvature of Earth against SAMs, can be the ideal complement for the F-22/35, the latter being used exclusively in A-A and surface targets designator.


As I recall the JASSM-XR is to be an oversized 5,000 lb class weapon (with a 2,000 lb warhead), rather than the current 2,250 lb JASSM sized air frame. That leaves bombers, Eagles and F-35s to cart them.
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Unread post25 Sep 2018, 10:23

If true, JASSM-XR would be twice the weight of a Vanilla JASSM. Me thinks the Navy is playing name games again to pass off an obviously new design as merely a new JASSM variant.
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Unread post25 Sep 2018, 10:39

popcorn wrote:If true, JASSM-XR would be twice the weight of a Vanilla JASSM. Me thinks the Navy is playing name games again to pass off an obviously new design as merely a new JASSM variant.


They seem to be claiming ancient family design heritage as the reason:

Wiki page says

JASSM-XR

In September 2018, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to develop an "Extreme Range" variant of the AGM-158. The weapon would weigh about 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) and deliver a 2,000 lb (910 kg) warhead out to a range of 1,000 nmi (1,900 km; 1,200 mi); it is planned to be ready by 2023.[47][48]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGM-158_JASSM

[47] says:

US Air Force Moving Forward with Lockheed's JASSM-XR missile development

Posted On Tuesday, 11 September 2018 11:12

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$51 million contract for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile Extreme Range (JASSM-XR) development and testing, the US Department of Defense stated on September 10, 2018.

According to the Pentagon, this contract effort includes "all all-up round level systems engineering and programmatic activities to align and phase the work necessary to design, develop, integrate, test, and verify component and subsystem design changes to the JASSM-XR baseline electronics, hardware, firmware, and operational flight software."

The JASSM-XR will also include preparation for final all-up round integration, system-level ground and flight testing, qualification, and incorporation into a future production baseline engineering change proposal. This effort will concurrently mature a new missile control unit and necessary hardware and infrastructure to support future JASSM-XR production cut in.

"Work will be performed in Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, 2023. This award is the result of sole-source acquisition. (...) Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity," the US DoD added.

Lockheed has been working on an "Extreme Range" variant of its AGM-158 JASSM since 2004. The company then entailed a stealthy, 5,000 pound-class weapon that can fly out to 1,000 nautical miles to deliver a lethal payload up to 2,000 pounds precisely on target.


http://www.airrecognition.com/index.php ... pment.html

[48] says:

America's Next Cruise Missile Will Strike From 1,000 Miles Away

By Kyle Mizokami

Sep 13, 2018

The Pentagon’s newest air-to-ground missile is about to get a long range upgrade, allowing it to strike targets from farther away than ever before.

The JASSM-XR cruise missile will give U.S. tactical aircraft the ability to strike targets more than a thousand miles away. To give you an idea of this kind of reach, it means a bomber circling Manhattan could strike targets as away as Minneapolis, Minnesota or Jacksonville, Florida with pinpoint accuracy.

The Pentagon’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile is a subsonic cruise missile. Flying low to evade enemy radar detection, it uses both jam-resistant GPS and an internal navigation system to follow a predetermined route to its target. Moments before impact the missile switches on a nose-mounted imaging infrared seeker to identify the target and then home in for the kill. JASSM’s 1,000-lb. warhead has a hard target smart fuse to allow it to penetrate earth, rock, or concrete.

The April 2018 NATO strike on Syria, in retaliation for the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons on the ground, saw the U.S. Air Force launch 19 JASSM (the Pentagon had earlier reported JASSM-ER) missiles launched against regime targets. The missiles were launched from B-1B Lancer bombers, but B-2s, B-52Hs, F-15Es, and F-16s can carry the missile as well.
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The original JASSM was powered by a Teledyne CAE J402-CA-100 turbojet and had a range of 230 miles. JASSM-ER extended the missile’s range to an estimated 500 miles using a more fuel efficient Williams International F107-WR-105 turbofan engine and larger fuel tanks.

This Monday, the Pentagon awarded Lockheed Martin a $51 million contract to develop a new version of the missile, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extreme Range (JASSM-XR). JASSM-XR is expected to have a range of more than 1,000 miles. This probably involves an even larger fuel tank, and perhaps improvements to the inertial navigation system to keep the missile on track.

Longer range makes for more flexible missions and greater aircraft survivability. JASSM-XR now can strike targets deeper in enemy territory, or use a significant portion of its range to fly around enemy air defenses so it can strike from an unexpected direction. It also means a non-stealthy carrier aircraft, particularly the B-52 heavy bomber, can unload its payload of missiles far from threatening enemy air defenses.

According to the contract, the Pentagon expects JASSM-XR ready by August 2023.


https://www.popularmechanics.com/milita ... ded-range/


All that was old is made new again. Anyway, AGM-129 just got beat.
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Unread post26 Sep 2018, 03:25

I don't believe the current JASSM-XR is related to the Lockheed IRAD effort of the same name from 2004 which
was essentially a bomber only weapon. This looks to be a re-winged ER.

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2018/September%202018/Lockheed-Martin-Developing-Extreme-Range-JASSM-Variant.aspx
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element1loop

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Unread post26 Sep 2018, 03:58

marauder2048 wrote:I don't believe the current JASSM-XR is related to the Lockheed IRAD effort of the same name from 2004 which
was essentially a bomber only weapon. This looks to be a re-winged ER.

http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2018/September%202018/Lockheed-Martin-Developing-Extreme-Range-JASSM-Variant.aspx


You could be right, but this bit appears to be just a suggestive speculation of an evolution of the existing missile:

" ... The Air Force was unable to comment on how many ER models might be uprated to the XR configuration or when the change would be cut in at the production line in Troy, Ala., ... "


There's no indication such an upgrade path is relevant to the older versions.
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Unread post26 Sep 2018, 05:44

I was mostly going by the language in the FBO solicitation which overlaps with the
2018 contract award (along with wing design award Lockheed got last year).

The scope of Group 1 includes all All-Up Round (AUR) level systems engineering and programmatic activities to align and phase the work necessary to design, develop, integrate, test, and verify component and subsystem design changes to the JASSM-ER baseline electronics, hardware, firmware, and operational flight software; to include all mechanical, electrical, and logical interconnections. Group one shall also include preparation for final AUR integration, system-level ground and flight testing, and qualification. This effort shall concurrently mature a new Missile Control Unit (MCU), new wings and chine, and the JAGR-M receiver, and necessary hardware and infrastructure to support Group One production cut in.



This acquisition is anticipated to be a 5-year C-Type contract, using a combination of Cost Plus Incentive Fee (CPIF) and Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) CLINs.



https://www.fbo.gov/indexs=opportunity&mode=form&id=3d8d27b6d3422cddb63952236ae05e91&tab=core&_cview=1


There's no indication such an upgrade path is relevant to the older versions.


I'm not surprised given that, IIRC, no JASSM baseline missiles were upgraded to JASSM-ER.
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Unread post26 Sep 2018, 06:22

I agree, that looks more like an evolution. Maybe an insert.
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Unread post23 Mar 2019, 00:47

Rapid Fire | Friday March 22, 2019
Boeing gets $4B for Super Hornets


The US Navy awarded Boeing a potential $4 billion contract modification for 78 F/A-18 Super Hornets. The F-18 Super Hornet is a twin-engine, multirole fighter capable of carrying air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. The deal provides for the full-rate production and delivery of 61 F/A-18E and 17 F/A-18F aircraft for fiscal years 2018 through 2021. The F/A-18E is the single-seat variant and the F/A-18F is the tandem-seat variant of the Super Hornet. According to reports Boeing will start converting Block II Super Hornets to Block III in the next ten years. The Block III update consists of structural and sensor upgrades. It also adds the ability to receive and transfer large amounts of sensor data with other Super Hornets and the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. A second-generation infrared search and track (IRST) radar will allow the aircraft to detect and track enemy aircraft without giving away its own position by using its radar. The Block III update also comes with a Rockwell Collins Tactical Targeting Network Technology (TTNT) radio and an advanced processor, which allows two or more F/A-18E/Fs to share IRST sensor data, giving a single fighter enough information to use for a targeting solution. Work under the contract modification will take place in the US and Canada and is scheduled to be completed in April 2024.
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