F-35 Lightning II vs Dassault Rafale

The F-35 compared with other modern jets.
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ricnunes

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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 20:20

swiss wrote:Well that is exactly OCA, which the Swiss AF also evaluate.

So it seems very likely there some standards for westerns Air Forces.


Just because the potential future Swiss fighter was evaluated on OCA roles (which includes Escort of other aircraft as per your images) doesn't mean that the Swiss fighter aircraft will be used in the exact same way as Denmark will use their fighter aircraft.
I'll say and I'll repeat this, Switzerland and Denmark will use their fighter aircraft quite differently and this alone almost certainly grants different analysis or evaluation parameters - again Switzerland will use their fighter aircraft almost exclusively (and this just not to say, exclusively) in the defence of home territory while the Danish aircraft will have a very strong emphasis on expeditionary missions which again, I repeat, the Swiss aircraft won't!


swiss wrote:
as well as the capability of using several radar modes at the same time:



And which modes are those? You know, for example there are several air-to-air modes and several air-to-ground modes.
It could be the case that the RBE2 AA can use several air-to-air radar modes at the same time which by itself doesn't guarantee that the RBE2 AA can use an air-to-air radar mode and an air-to-ground mode at the same time for example.
But I could be wrong thou...


swiss wrote:
Active electronic scanning makes it possible to switch radar modes quickly, thereby enabling operational functions to run simultaneously



Well, switching radar modes quickly is not the same thing as using modes simultaneously!
And what are those "simultaneous operational functions"?? From what I gather these could even be "basic stuff" (note the quotes) such as using a radar scan mode (such as TWS) together with IFF.

Anyway and please don't get me wrong, but this is hardly an evidence which proves the use of simultaneous use of air-to-air and air-to-ground radar modes.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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ricnunes

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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 20:42

swiss wrote:Difficult to say. According to the Danish evaluation the SH is on the same price Level as the EF, when i remember correct. And you know my opinion who is the better fighter overall. :wink: Lets hope the Finish and next Swiss evaluation will be leaked.


Oh, I forgot to address this point of yours in my previous post (I quoted it but I forgot to address it :doh: ).

If you look at the Danish competition analysis you have this:
Image


So in terms of acquisition:
- 30.9 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 813 Million Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 28.1 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 826 Million Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

Now if we look at sustainment the Typhoon gets much more expensive and quite a BIG difference in terms of (sustainment) costs:
- 26.8 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 705 Million Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 36.5 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 1073 Million (or 1.073 Billion) Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

Finally if we look at all the costs, including acquisition, sustainment and risk we have:
- 60.6 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 1.59 Billion Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 71.4 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 2.1 Million Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

I would never and ever say that the Super Hornet and the Typhoon are in the "same price Level" :wink:
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 20:48

Danish eval did not take into account Rafale in anyway. (Dassault did not compete). However, I am not the only one having serious restrictions about danish eval (see Boeing contesting numbers in law and Eurofighter declarations)...
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 21:01

monkeypilot wrote:Danish eval did not take into account Rafale in anyway. (Dassault did not compete). However, I am not the only one having serious restrictions about danish eval (see Boeing contesting numbers in law and Eurofighter declarations)...


LoL, so the competitions that don't have or include the Rafale are rigged or suspicious even if they publish the results which are publically well known and were performed by countries (Denmark) which have far better track of public service organization and scrutiny than countries such as yours (France) or let alone India?? :doh:

About Boeing contesting the Danish competition this was done only because a single reason:
- "Publicity stunt" aimed at Canada! This was already explained to you. For example did anyone heard about this Boeing complaint since Canada abandoned the "interim" Super Hornet purchase??
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 21:18

monkeypilot wrote:Danish eval did not take into account Rafale in anyway. (Dassault did not compete). However, I am not the only one having serious restrictions about danish eval (see Boeing contesting numbers in law and Eurofighter declarations)...


The Danish eval seems to be very transparent, to an extent most countries do not publish. If you're going to distrust an eval, it shouldn't be that one.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 21:34

ricnunes wrote:
loke wrote:Why do you believe the SH is better than the Rafale in the a2g role?


Well for starters the Super Hornet carries a much wider variety of air-to-ground weaponry compared to the Rafale (not to mention the Typhoon).
The SH also carries more air-to-grounds weapons (in both quantity and weight).
Here I not 100% sure, but I think that the APG-79 has more Air-to-Ground modes and than the RBE2-AA.
Simultaneous Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Air modes which are present in the SH/APG-79 will/would also greatly improve the aircraft's survivability when performing Air-to-Ground missions.
loke wrote:If you then look at the Danish eval, for Air Interdiction Typhoon and SH received the same score, which actually was a bit of a surprise to me...


Actually I'm not that surprised and why?
Because Air Interdiction usually means attacking a static ground structure - it could be a bridge, a factory, an airfield plus all the associated structures, etc...
It means that any aircraft which is capable of carrying weapons with pre-planned / pre-programmed capabilities such as GPS - like JDAMs or other GPS bombs or Cruise Missiles - would have the same capability (and both the SH and Typhoon have this capability).
For example what would be the difference in terms of Air Interdiction if you have a Typhoon and a SH both carrying GPS guided bombs with the target pre-programmed on them?
Not much I would say, since both of them seem to have similar survivability while the Super Hornet wouldn't need to use its superior air-to-ground radar/modes in such roles since and again, the target would already be pre-programmed and all the aircraft would need to do would be to fly into a point/distance which would ensure that the bomb/weapon reaches its target.
Well, 2 cents anyway.... :wink:

First you say that the SH is superior to Rafale in a2g because it can carry a larger range of weapons. However Typhoon can carry an even smaller variety of a2g munitions than the Rafale, and still the Typhoon scored the same as SH in a2g in the Danish eval?

Then you say that SH and Typhoon scored the same in the Danish eval because they have the same capability to carry GPS munitions?

If that was the case why did both SH and Typhoon score higher than the Danish F-16 (which have been updated continously and AFAIK has this capability)? Furthermore, why did they score much lower than the F-35 if all it took was to release a GPS guided munition!?

This does not seem very logical to me, to be honest.

Regarding Rafale and payload:

Rafale can carry 9,500kg externally on 14 pylons. AFAIK the SH can carry 8,050 kg on 11 pylons...


As for the radars: the RBE2 looks pretty solid to me:
[T]he RBE2 provides unprecedented levels of situational awareness, with earlier detection and tracking of multiple targets as well as the capability of using several radar modes at the same time:
• All-aspect look-down/look-up detection and tracking of multiple air targets for close combat and long-range interception and in jammed environment in all weather,
• Real-time generation of three-dimensional maps for terrain-following,
• Real-time generation of high resolution ground maps for navigation and targeting,
• Detection and tracking of multiple sea targets.


Air Defence
• Very long detection and track ranges
• Fully automatic, sorting and ranking of tracked targets
• Fully target tracks independent of search volume
• Meteor compatible

Deep low-level penetration
• Automatic terrain following and avoidance

Strike mission
• En Route update of target area situation
• High resolution imagery modes (SAR) - Designations

Sea skimming attacks
• Detection and multi-tracking Active electronic scanning makes it possible to switch radar modes quickly, thereby enabling operational functions to run simultaneously

https://www.thalesgroup.com/sites/defau ... bat_ok.pdf

Note this is fairly old (2013) -- the current capabilities are likely much improved upon compared to this.

There are important capabilities that you have not even touched upon yet, like IR and laser sensors, sensor fusion, and EW capabilities. Of course the issue with EW capabilities is that they are strictly classified. What we do know is that the SPECTRA EW was highly praised by the Swiss, we also know that the two current SH customers will rely on Growlers for EW (and soon also the F-35), thus one may ask whether the USN and RAAF will invest heavily in EW capabilities for the SH in the future.

We know that France will invest heavily in Rafale EW capabilities since they have no F-35 and no Growler.

Thus IMHO one should not be surprised if the EW capabilities of the Rafale is superior to the SH EW capabilities today, and also in the future.

Regarding IR sensors: The SH has a peculiar solution, mounting the IRST in the central drop tank, limiting loadout options.

Does the current SH have laser warning sensors integrated, similar to the Rafale? I tried to find info on this but could not find any?

The "FSO" of Rafale is quite interesting. AFAIK it will include not just IRST sensor but also a sensor in the optical wavelength, for long-range passive identification; as well as laser range-finding for air, ground and sea target.

Does the SH have anything comparable to the functionality of the Rafale FSO?

And again; has the sensor fusion of the SH reached the same level of complexity and maturity as the Rafale sensor fusion? The Rafale sensor fusion was praised by the Swiss already in 2008 -- since then it has been much improved.
Last edited by loke on 12 Mar 2018, 22:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 21:43

On the AN/APG-79:


In January 2013, the Director, Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) disclosed a long history of problems for the APG-79 radar in initial operational testing.[4]
• DOT&E reported on APG-79 radar IOT&E [initial operational test and evaluation] in FY07, assessing it as not operationally effective or suitable due to significant deficiencies in tactical performance, reliability, and BIT functionality.
• The Navy conducted APG-79 radar FOT&E [follow-on test and evaluation] in FY09 in conjunction with SCS H4E SQT. The Navy’s Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force subsequently reported that significant deficiencies remained for both APG-79 AESA performance and suitability; DOT&E concurred with this assessment.
• The APG-79 AESA radar demonstrated marginal improvements since the previous FOT&E period and provides improved performance relative to the legacy APG-73 radar. However, operational testing does not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in mission accomplishment between F/A-18E/F aircraft equipped with AESA and those equipped with the legacy radar.
• Full development of AESA electronic warfare capability remains deferred to later software builds.
No date was predicted for the F/A-18 E/F Hornet's APG-79 radar reaching an operationally suitable status.


This was in 2013: presumably these issues have been addressed since then??

I was very suprised by this: "However, operational testing does not demonstrate a statistically significant difference in mission accomplishment between F/A-18E/F aircraft equipped with AESA and those equipped with the legacy radar."
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 22:21

ricnunes wrote:
Just because the potential future Swiss fighter was evaluated on OCA roles (which includes Escort of other aircraft as per your images) doesn't mean that the Swiss fighter aircraft will be used in the exact same way as Denmark will use their fighter aircraft.
I'll say and I'll repeat this, Switzerland and Denmark will use their fighter aircraft quite differently and this alone almost certainly grants different analysis or evaluation parameters - again Switzerland will use their fighter aircraft almost exclusively (and this just not to say, exclusively) in the defence of home territory while the Danish aircraft will have a very strong emphasis on expeditionary missions which again, I repeat, the Swiss aircraft won't!


You mean like Nato mission in Libya, Afghanistan etc.


ricnunes wrote:Well, switching radar modes quickly is not the same thing as using modes simultaneously!
And what are those "simultaneous operational functions"?? From what I gather these could even be "basic stuff" (note the quotes) such as using a radar scan mode (such as TWS) together with IFF.

Anyway and please don't get me wrong, but this is hardly an evidence which proves the use of simultaneous use of air-to-air and air-to-ground radar modes.


Well when you read the PDF about the RBE2 it should be clear, in my opinion. Look at loke post. :wink:

ricnunes wrote:
Oh, I forgot to address this point of yours in my previous post (I quoted it but I forgot to address it :doh: ).

If you look at the Danish competition analysis you have this:
Image


So in terms of acquisition:
- 30.9 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 813 Million Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 28.1 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 826 Million Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

Now if we look at sustainment the Typhoon gets much more expensive and quite a BIG difference in terms of (sustainment) costs:
- 26.8 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 705 Million Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 36.5 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 1073 Million (or 1.073 Billion) Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

Finally if we look at all the costs, including acquisition, sustainment and risk we have:
- 60.6 Billion Danish Krona per 38 Super Hornets --> around 1.59 Billion Danish Krona per Super Hornet unit.
- 71.4 Billion Danish Krona per 34 Typhoons --> around 2.1 Million Danish Krona per Typhoon unit.

I would never and ever say that the Super Hornet and the Typhoon are in the "same price Level" :wink:


Agreed, i stand corrected. I had other numbers in my mind. To be fair, the Rafale was also cheaper in the swiss evaluation.

BTW i have no doubt that the Danish evaluation was a fair and serious comparison.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 22:36

Danish competition was probably quite fair although there were some strange things in there:

1. For some reason they insisted on SH Fs only; whereas for Typhoon and F-35 they had only on-seaters of course -- this increased the SH costs compared to if they had chosen the E model (it would also mean more operators of course).

2. For some reason they did not accept the Boeing numbers for airframe life, but used the numbers that the USN are using on their carriers -- due to shorter estimated life they concluded that they would need more SH than Typhoon or F-35. This is a bit odd since Denmark does not operate any aircraft carrier, and operating the SH from land will allow them to operate the SH for more hours, due to much less strain and less corrosion on the airframe.

3. Eurofighter complained about some other things, cannot remember much of their complaints but I think they asked why the Danes used the latest targeting (?) pod for the F-16 in their comparison, but not for the Typhoon.

I find the two first points to be a bit odd I must admit. On the other hand those issues will mainly affect the cost of operating the SH, and the SH would probably in any case lose vs the F-35 on cost, even with fewer and cheaper airframes.
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 22:51

If you want to know, you need to google why this was. The USN ran the block II operationally as block I. Australia was the first to use block II as a block II

"It's a little bit embarrassing for me," says Gp Capt Steve Roberton, commander of 82 Wing. "It is fair to say the jet has proven to be more robust and exceeded what we thought."

"With a much smaller force structure than the USN, the RAAF believes it can harness the Super Hornet's full capabilities much sooner, Roberton says. Due to training infrastructure limitations, the USN operates the AESA-equipped F/A-18E/F Block II similarly to the Block I Super Hornet and classic F/A-18C/Ds."
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Unread post12 Mar 2018, 23:31

The 'optimist' quote directly above comes from: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ce-342496/ 27 May 2010
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 00:23

loke wrote:First you say that the SH is superior to Rafale in a2g because it can carry a larger range of weapons. However Typhoon can carry an even smaller variety of a2g munitions than the Rafale, and still the Typhoon scored the same as SH in a2g in the Danish eval?

Then you say that SH and Typhoon scored the same in the Danish eval because they have the same capability to carry GPS munitions?


Look and now re-read the post of yours which I replied to.
My response for you what about your findings that the Danish evaluation found that the Typhoon and Super Hornet were similar (or tied) in terms of Air Interdiction roles.
In order to revive your memory here's what you posted:
loke wrote:If you then look at the Danish eval, for Air Interdiction Typhoon and SH received the same score, which actually was a bit of a surprise to me...


Now you're changing subject and replaced "Air Interdiction" with "Air-to-Ground"??
You know "Air-to-Ground" is much more than "Air Interdiction" - For example if you look at the same Danish evaluation the Super Hornet scored HIGHER than the Typhoon in CAS (Close Air Support) roles, SCAR (Strike, Coordination and Reconnaissance) roles and NTISR (Non-Traditional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) roles.
So what can we conclude here?? The Super Hornet is superior to the Typhoon in every air-to-ground parameter except AI where both aircraft had the same score.
So yes, the Super Hornet is CLEARLY SUPERIOR to the Typhoon in Air-to-Ground roles/mission.


loke wrote:If that was the case why did both SH and Typhoon score higher than the Danish F-16 (which have been updated continously and AFAIK has this capability)?


For example, because both the SH and Typhoon are probably more survivable than the current Danish F-16. You know, in order to release that GPS bomb/munition you'll likely have to face enemy threats (both from the ground and air).


loke wrote:Furthermore, why did they score much lower than the F-35 if all it took was to release a GPS guided munition!?

This does not seem very logical to me, to be honest.


I can give you not only one but three reasons:
1- A much better ability to perform BDA (Battle Damage Assessment) due to sensor fusion - for example with a pair of touches you can bring up a view of the target much quicker and easier than it's possible with the other 4/4.5th gen platforms.
2- STEALTH plus STEALTH and advanced sensors and sensor fusion. This makes the F-35 much more survivable and this reason alone should grant a quite/much bigger score. It also helps A LOT with point 1-
3- Sensor fusion enables to react much quicker and effectively against targets detected by other sources (and thus better retasking).

Makes sense now??



loke wrote:Regarding Rafale and payload:

Rafale can carry 9,500kg externally on 14 pylons. AFAIK the SH can carry 8,050 kg on 11 pylons...


I've seen those values from Wikipedia but honestly I don't buy them. The Super Hornet is a considerably bigger and heavier plane than the Rafale.
For example according to the same wikipedia the Super Hornet has an empty weight of 14,552 kg while the Rafale as an empty weight of 9,850 Kg for the lighter variant (C) and 10,600 Kg for the heavier variant (M) and the Super Hornet is powered by 2 engines each rated at 13,000 lbf with Dry power while the Rafale is powered by 2 engines each rated at 11,250 lbf so it doesn't make sense that Rafale can carry more weapons in terms of weight compared to the Super Hornet. This is similar to someone saying that the Super Hornet can carry a heavier payload compared to the F-15E, which obviously would be false.

Then you have what is the theoretical "maximum payload weight" and an actual "maximum payload" which is limited to other factors such as actual pylon capability.
For example, the Rafale can carry a maximum load of 3 (three) 2000lb bombs while the Super Hornet can carry a maximum load of 4 (four) of such 2000lb bombs.
Here:
Image

And here:
Image

So as you can see in terms of 2000lb bombs the Super Hornet can carry more than the Rafale.

Or if you look for example at the GBU-12 500lb LGB, the Super Hornet can carry a maximum of 7 (seven) while the Rafale carries a maximum of 5 (five).



Regarding the Rafale Radar capabilities that you posted, again none proves that it can do simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-ground, just like I previously replied to Swiss.


loke wrote:We know that France will invest heavily in Rafale EW capabilities since they have no F-35 and no Growler.

Thus IMHO one should not be surprised if the EW capabilities of the Rafale is superior to the SH EW capabilities today, and also in the future.


Perhaps the Rafale could have a edge over the -E/F variant of the SH in terms of EW but definitely not compared to the Growler. Never said anything contrary to this, did I?

loke wrote:Regarding IR sensors: The SH has a peculiar solution, mounting the IRST in the central drop tank, limiting loadout options.

.......

The "FSO" of Rafale is quite interesting. AFAIK it will include not just IRST sensor but also a sensor in the optical wavelength, for long-range passive identification; as well as laser range-finding for air, ground and sea target.

Does the SH have anything comparable to the functionality of the Rafale FSO?


Sure but then again the IRST/FSO that you're taking about is mainly for Air-to-Air. It's usefulness in Air-to-Ground missions is at best questionable and so much that one of the main and recent Rafale upgrades was a new and more advanced EO targeting pod. If that IRST/FSO was so good or so usefull in Air-to-Ground missions why would the French invest in a new EO targeting pod in the first place?


loke wrote:Does the current SH have laser warning sensors integrated, similar to the Rafale? I tried to find info on this but could not find any?


Probably not but I already addressed this in the EW "section" above.


loke wrote:And again; has the sensor fusion of the SH reached the same level of complexity and maturity as the Rafale sensor fusion? The Rafale sensor fusion was praised by the Swiss already in 2008 -- since then it has been much improved.


The Super Hornet as sensor fusion indeed. Probably on the same/similar (if not better) level as the Rafale.
Last edited by ricnunes on 13 Mar 2018, 00:27, edited 2 times in total.
A 4th/4.5th gen fighter aircraft stands about as much chance against a F-35 as a guns-only Sabre has against a Viper.
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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 00:25

loke wrote:2. For some reason they did not accept the Boeing numbers for airframe life, but used the numbers that the USN are using on their carriers -- due to shorter estimated life they concluded that they would need more SH than Typhoon or F-35. This is a bit odd since Denmark does not operate any aircraft carrier, and operating the SH from land will allow them to operate the SH for more hours, due to much less strain and less corrosion on the airframe.


Finland has proved that it's not safe to draw such conclusions. C/D was promised huge lifetime hours (2x carrier hours), but they ended up finding out that it would cap out at 4500 hours. It's largely due to not having to fly any transition flight. The flight training areas are only about 3 minutes of flight away from the bases.
It got so bad that the Finnish Air Force had to alter in some way how they stress the jet to keep it going for 1000 hours more than what they were looking if no changes were made.
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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 05:30

spazsinbad wrote:The 'optimist' quote directly above comes from: https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... ce-342496/ 27 May 2010

It's the same with all the DOT&E reports, context is everything. There is a reason why the mission results are similar. Half the time, the people who review the info provided to them, don't know what it means and go off on a tangent, climbing the wrong tree. The DOT&E reports on the f-35 are another example of being corrected after the fact. They really don't understand what the JPO has given them. They don't do any of their own data.
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Unread post13 Mar 2018, 09:03

2. For some reason they did not accept the Boeing numbers for airframe life, but used the numbers that the USN are using on their carriers -- due to shorter estimated life they concluded that they would need more SH than Typhoon or F-35. This is a bit odd since Denmark does not operate any aircraft carrier, and operating the SH from land will allow them to operate the SH for more hours, due to much less strain and less corrosion on the airframe.



Even the RAAF expected to only get 2400 hours out of their SHs back in 2012. Not sure what current estimate is.

The Super Hornet aircraft was originally designed and manufactured, under US Navy Specification SD‐565‐3‐2, with a structural‐fatigue safe life of 6000 airframe hours of US Navy usage. However, the DGTA has applied ‘knock‐down’ factors to account for a more severe RAAF usage spectrum, resulting in a current RAAF life of 2400 airframe hours, which will suffice for the current Planned Withdrawal Date of 2025. DGTA and DSTO are working to remove analytical conservatism and thereby increase the RAAF service life of the Super Hornet.209


Source - https://www.anao.gov.au/sites/g/files/n ... No%205.pdf
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