Commander Naval Air Forces wants more F/A-18s

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35_aoa

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Unread post25 Jan 2019, 01:49

mixelflick wrote:If we're talking about a paradigm shift to primarily BVR air to air combat, how is that served by flying Alpha jets, KFIR's, F-5's and A-4's? Further, can any of these aircraft come close to simulating the BVR capabilities of an SU-35, J-10 or a J-20? Because those are the worst case scenario confronting our pilots, and it would make sense to train for worst case - in jiu jitsu to air to air combat.


You bring up a great and valid point, however I wouldn't say that this is anything you could construe as a paradigm shift. Adversaries = BVR training, and have for a long time. Yes, you can certainly find yourself turning at a merge with them, but their purpose is not what it was in the late 60's/1970's as pure dissimilar ACM opponents. The contract folks that are the subject of this most recent tangent, aren't even allowed to BFM/turn at the merge more than 180 degrees based on the stipulations in their contract. Not sure if this is the case with Draken, but it is with ATAC.
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southernphantom

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Unread post25 Jan 2019, 02:35

35_aoa wrote:
Corsair1963 wrote:Considering contractors are taking over more and more of the Aggressor Role. I wouldn't be surprised of some of the APG-79 equipped Hornets end up in their hands.


While it is true that contract adversary support is on the rise, the ceiling they face is what technology the state department will allow to be sold on the civilian/private market. Every one of their jets (be it ATAC, Draken, etc) has an FAA registration and N-number, and an experimental airworthiness certificate.........yes they are technically considered "public" aircraft for administrative purposes/FAA oversight while actually flying a red support flight, but that doesn't change the fact that they are privately owned aircraft with no actual relationship to the military other than a contract. So they have basically the same legal status as your neighbor Bob who might just want to buy a super hornet because he feels like it, and might also want to then just remove avionics, crate them, and send them to Russia/China for some cash. Yes, I trust the contract folks to protect such stuff if it were to come to that, but legally, they are exactly the same buyer. They currently fly a boat load of old, technologically irrelevant jets (i.e. KFIR, modified A-4, Mk58 Hunter, etc) because they can't legally buy anything else. There are bids to get slightly newer aircraft, such as Mirage F1 and F-16A, but I still haven't seen it happen. Even then, we aren't really talking about representative threat aircraft. But that is a long way of saying that its gonna be a long time or possibly never when they can buy an F/A-18A, let alone an AESA Rhino......not to mention that there are literally 0 APG-79 jets that we can spare at this point.


http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22 ... essor-duty

You may find this interesting regarding Mirage F1s.

Also - Draken's A-4s were retrofitted to a near-F-16 avionics standard, including APG-66, in the mid-80s under Project Kahu. They're not exactly modern, but the avionics are nothing to sneeze at.
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ricnunes

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Unread post25 Jan 2019, 13:04

First of all I want to thank spazsinbad for complementing my earlier post. I believe that with spaz post and links together with what I mentioned earlier is relatively easy to reach the conclusion that you don't necessarily need to fit radars, specially advanced radar on Red/Agressor aircraft which includes models such as the already mentioned Alpha jet, KFIR, F-5, A-4; Mirage F1, etc... in order to simulate advanced radars such as the Irbis-E fitted one the Su-35 or any other radar for that matter.

I'll give you an example which while not related to military aviation does IMO give an idea on how things or situations can be simulated with military hardware. The heaviest weapon that I "shot" in my life was a MILAN Anti-Tank missile. To be honest and accurate I didn't shot a live ordinance/missile, what I actually did were simulated shots. And how does these simulated shots unfold/work? The answer is the following:
- During a simulated shot, when you look at the MILAN sight you'll see a "Red Dot" moving within the scope. That "Red Dot" simulates/represents the target tank/vehicle and the movement of that "Red Dot"/vehicle is controlled by a couple of black boxes which are connected to the MILAN Launcher or more precisely to the Sight Unit when performing simulated shots (those block boxes aren't obviously present during live/real action). With those black boxes it is possible to set several parameters such as the Target range/distance, speed, bearing relative to the launcher, heading where the target is traveling to, etc... and all of these parameters will define/translate on how the "Red Dot"/vehicle will move within the Launcher sight/scope.
Then you'll do exactly like in real life: You'll press the trigger to fire the missile (of course that with a simulated shots you don't have live ordinance and as such no missile is actually launched) and you'll have the keep the sight aimed at the "Red Dot" which again represents the target tank/vehicle and the Black Boxes will track/register the (simulated) missile flight path and if the target was actually hit or not.

Anyway my point here is: if you can make an accurate representation/simulation of firing an anti-tank missile with the real hardware and all of this being "in-doors" and without the need to have an actual target such as a real tank moving if front of you and all of this with equipment (MILAN) which is already starting to get obsolete with quite "rudimentary" and auxiliar equipment, now imagine what can be simulated with aircraft which despite being "old" do carry much more advanced equipment (controlled by advanced software)?
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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 17:15

ricnunes has more or less written what came to my mind as I was reading 35_aoa's earlier posts.

In my opinion, to keep any "classified" or "sensitive" stuff out of the contractor jets, one could

  • If the contractor jet broadcasts it's vector data (position, body axes orientation), a ground computer could determine which targets, if any, it sees, then broadcast that data back to the contractor jet, to be displayed on a "dumb" display.
  • All military aircraft could do the same. The ground computer might even take into account orientation of the "stealth" aircraft to determine if a pilot is being dumb and not orienting his aircraft to prevent an RCS spike from being pointed at a bad guy. If the "stealth" pilot is being dumb... he pays a price.
  • all you need is basically a dumb display and some avionics boxes to determine position vector, aircraft orientation vector, and some radios (SDR?). Probably could put all those avionics boxes into a Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) pod.

Taking it a step further... if all military aircraft are able to broadcast certain types of information via transponder... Then you could probably get rid of any ground computers that need smarts. Ground computers would just "keep score" -- who killed who and when. Well... Ground computers might be needed to simulate missiles, P/K, and kills -- still, all part of keeping score.

And one more step... I could see all this information being modularized and stuffed into pods. Maybe that's what goes into those Cubic air combat simulation pods. (I think Cubic is the manufacturer.) So a pod could be told... you're an F/A-18. You're a SU-35. Today you get to play an F-15C. Nope, sorry... you're an F-16A. Hey... F-5A? Yeah, you... you're an Su-57. Enjoy it while you can.

Every pod broadcasts it's location vector, and it's orientation vector, along with what it is (F-16, SU-27 etc). Software running in the pod determines what it can see and only that information is depicted on the display in the cockpit. F-22's and F-35's would not need pods, all that code could be run onboard in a "training mode." Take the radar reflector doofers off the plane, and the "training mode" is disabled.

For contract work, contractor lands at .mil base... pod is installed... then you go play. When simulation is completed, remove pod... no GFE or classified is on contractor aircraft.

IF it is not permissible for any classified to be installed on a contractor (civilian) aircraft at any time, then the contractor pod would need to be "stupid" and a computer somewhere (probably a ground station or two or three) would need to figure out what information the civvie jets can see, and only broadcast that information to them.

Easy peasy.

Yeah, right. But it could work pretty slick.
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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 19:56

Or more likely, aggressor pilots have security clearances.
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steve2267

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Unread post26 Jan 2019, 20:33

wrightwing wrote:Or more likely, aggressor pilots have security clearances.


I think that is probably a given.

I thought 35_aoa's point about no classified equipment being permitted on civilian-registered, experimental aircraft was to the point.

On the other hand, and perhaps 35_aoa, BP or others can speak to this...

Classified boxen are most typically produced by corporations, which are civilian entities. For example, what about all the avionics created by Lockheed Martin for the F-35 program? I am thinking specifically of the F-35 flight avionics that were developed on / tested / flown on a Boeing 737:

https://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article ... t-edwards/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_CATBird

It has a civilian N-number: N35LX which appears to be a Corporate registration, not experimental:

https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquir ... ertxt=35LX

I am guessing that a lot of the equipment onboard that aircraft was classified.

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Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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35_aoa

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Unread post27 Jan 2019, 00:54

Sorry guys, my intent was not to say that classified equipment can't exist on these contract jets. I don't really know where that rests honestly, as most are not US origin, and are super dated at that. But I do believe that the F-16A will probably make its way into the rotation, and as others have mentioned, the Draken A-4 has an APG-66 making it potentially classified under US standards/classification authorities. The big thing for State Department concern is advanced technology, and nuclear release capability. Most 4th gen fighters meet one or both of those criteria.
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 10:56

Boeing Awarded $4B Multi-Year Deal for 78 Super Hornets
21 Mar 2019 Ben Werner

"The Navy awarded Boeing a $4 billion multi-year contract modification to build 78 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, according to a Wednesday Pentagon contract announcement. The contract modification covers the production and delivery of aircraft between Fiscal Years 2019 and 2021. Boeing estimates the multi-year contract modification will save the Navy $395 million. “A multiyear contract helps the F/A-18 team seek out suppliers with a guaranteed three years of production, instead of negotiating year to year,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs, said in a statement.

Four years ago, Boeing executives were evaluating whether to shutter the entire Super Hornet production line....

...The Navy has since renewed its dedication to buying more Super Hornets. The Navy’s current five-year purchase plan – of which the new multi-year award is part – calls for buying 110 Super Hornets, according to Boeing....

...Of the 78 Super Hornets covered by the new contract modification, 61 are F/A-18E single-seat jets and 17 are F/A-18F double-seat fighters. All are Block III aircraft, which are slightly more stealthy than Block II and, per the Navy’s request, have a greater range and can carry more weapons on a more durable airframe expected to last up to 9,000 fight hours – about a decade longer than Block II airframes...."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2019/03/21/42021
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 12:29

So as with the F-15X, we're buying more 4th gen Super Duper Hornets at the expense of the F-35C. Awful, just awful.

This love affair with the SH is just disgusting. It's corporate welfare. Nothing more, nothing less. Every Super Duper bought is one less F-35C that could be in the fight, and quite likely will be reduced to spare parts by a top shelf IADS. Yeah, you can argue jamming by the Growler, but then you need 2 airframes putting at least 3 and up to 4 aviators at risk vs. 1 plane, and one pilot in the F-35C.

And with the asking price going lower and lower for the F-35, buying Super Dupers makes even less sense IMO...
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 14:06

That works out to $51.3M each. Not a bad price. Does it include engines? Radar? If not, what does it NOT include? That is, how much will a complete, ready to attach bombs & missiles and fly a mission, Super Duper end up costing?
Take an F-16, stir in A-7, dollop of F-117, gob of F-22, dash of F/A-18, sprinkle with AV-8B, stir well + bake. Whaddya get? F-35.
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 15:53

The amount of GFE in the SH is significant.

The budget has a Flyaway of $66mil but pylons, tanks, and pods need to be added on top of that.
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 16:53

mixelflick wrote:So as with the F-15X, we're buying more 4th gen Super Duper Hornets at the expense of the F-35C. Awful, just awful.

This love affair with the SH is just disgusting. It's corporate welfare. Nothing more, nothing less.


There's a reason the head of the DoD is under investigation. I just hope they show him the door ASAP.
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 18:17

spazsinbad wrote:
Boeing Awarded $4B Multi-Year Deal for 78 Super Hornets
21 Mar 2019 Ben Werner

"The Navy awarded Boeing a $4 billion multi-year contract modification to build 78 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighters, according to a Wednesday Pentagon contract announcement. The contract modification covers the production and delivery of aircraft between Fiscal Years 2019 and 2021. Boeing estimates the multi-year contract modification will save the Navy $395 million. “A multiyear contract helps the F/A-18 team seek out suppliers with a guaranteed three years of production, instead of negotiating year to year,” Dan Gillian, Boeing’s vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programs, said in a statement.

Four years ago, Boeing executives were evaluating whether to shutter the entire Super Hornet production line....

...The Navy has since renewed its dedication to buying more Super Hornets. The Navy’s current five-year purchase plan – of which the new multi-year award is part – calls for buying 110 Super Hornets, according to Boeing....

...Of the 78 Super Hornets covered by the new contract modification, 61 are F/A-18E single-seat jets and 17 are F/A-18F double-seat fighters. All are Block III aircraft, which are slightly more stealthy than Block II and, per the Navy’s request, have a greater range and can carry more weapons on a more durable airframe expected to last up to 9,000 fight hours – about a decade longer than Block II airframes...."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2019/03/21/42021


FlightGobal’s article suggests that this is for upgrading existing F/A-18E/Fs Block IIs not new builds.

“Boeing will begin converting existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III early in the next decade,” says a company statement.
https://www.flightglobal.com/news/artic ... -s-456800/
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Unread post22 Mar 2019, 19:21

Always best to read original source as I'm constrained to approx. only 50% making excerpts problematic sometimes. However the USNInews story could have explained the situation in more detail because YES Confucius Reigns. IIRC the situation of upgrading older Block II Supers and then building new Block IIIs has been explained earlier in this thread?

This should have been BOLDED in excerpts from USNInews article abive: "...new multi-year award is part..."

For sure the FightGlobular article does a better explanation of the upgrading/new build 'whatever is decided' situation.

Some earlier upgrade/new build explainos: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=52254&p=392358&hilit=convert+#p392358 USNImews
&
BOTH LINKS IN THIS THREAD: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=52254&p=391917&hilit=convert+#p391917 FightGlobally
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Unread post25 Mar 2019, 09:27

Navy Orders 78 Super Hornet Block III Strike Fighters
21 Mar 2019 RICHARD R. BURGESS

"...Navy officials said, “There also will be opportunities in fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2021 to procure six more aircraft at the same reduced prices as those in MYP, via a variation in quantity.”

The Block III configuration of the 78 Super Hornets will include a reduced radar cross section and conformal fuel tanks, increasing range and freeing up pylons for weapons. The configuration also will add an advanced cockpit display, Tactical Targeting Network technology and Block II of the Infrared Search and Track sensor.

The aircraft will be delivered with a 10,000-flight-hour service life, compared to 6,000 hours for first-production Super Hornets. Boeing also will begin converting some existing Block II Super Hornets to Block III in the early 2020s — also extending the service life of these aircraft from 6,000 to 10,000 hours.

The Navy plans to equip one Super Hornet squadron in each carrier air wing with the Block III before beginning to convert a second squadron in each wing. The sea service also plans to order 36 more Super Hornets for the years 2022, 2023 and 2024 in quantities of 12 per year."

Source: http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/201 ... oeing.html
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