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

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SpudmanWP

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Unread post02 Apr 2018, 17:21

All new fighters carry less weapon initially than current fighters. That in no way means that they are less effective as a whole. For the F-35, UAI which is coming in Block 4.1 will open up the choice of weapons significantly.
Last edited by SpudmanWP on 03 Apr 2018, 03:00, edited 1 time in total.
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marauder2048

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Unread post02 Apr 2018, 20:47

ricnunes wrote:[
While I fully agree with you mixelflick, I must say that your point #3 is also on the Super Hornet's side at least for the time being.
For example the F-35C (or any other F-35 variant) cannot carry Maverick, Harpoon, SLAM-ER and HARM missiles or a variety of cluster bombs such as the CBU-97, all of this weapons are part of the US Navy's inventory and can be carried by the Super Hornet while all weapons carried by the F-35C including the JSOW can be carried by the Super Hornet.


Most of these weapons are are obsolescent or out of production. The Navy is only employing Maverick because they have
been unwilling to integrate APKWS on the Super Hornet. You know there's a problem when the MQ-8B has more
low-collateral damage, moving-target stowed kills than the Super Bug.

The claims about APG-79 being a great AESA have not been borne out by operational testing or employement.
Aside from making the nose heavier and straining the ECS, the APG-79 has been a marginal
at best improvement over the APG-73 and one acquired at tremendous cost.

AFAIK, the APG-79 has not demonstrated the multi-AIM-120 engagement capability that drove
its development in the first place. And I've yet to see any data to suggest that the time-on-wing
for the APG-79 is anything but marginally better than the APG-73.
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Unread post02 Apr 2018, 23:58

ricnunes wrote:
usnvo wrote:Second, the APG-79 has not been declared Operationally Suitable by the Navy yet.


Where did you get this?
I find odd this to be the case since the APG-79 is an integral part of the Block II upgrade and Block II is around for how long? I would say a decade at least.


Well, you are welcome to find it odd but it is true. It is deficient in several required modes, the Navy Test and Evaluation guys haven't found any statistical improvement over the APG-73, and although they do acknowledge it is more reliable than the APG-73 it is not meeting it's reliability requirements. Look in the DOT&E 2016 report under F-18E/F (it is not referenced under the 2017 report because they have not done any further testing on it since they went away with their tails between their legs last time). The Navy is doing additional testing this year which should result it in being declared operationally suitable but since they said that every year since 2008, not sure how much credence to give that.


ricnunes wrote:From what I gather the problem that you mentioned above is not related to the APG-79 radar but instead related to the ALQ-99 jammer pod. For example what's the Navy solution for this same problem that you described above? Upgrading/fixing the APG-79? No, the solution is developing the NGJ (Next Generation Jammer) pod to replace the ALQ-99.


Well, again, the Testing guys indicate it is a APG-79 problem. Additionally, given that the jammimg pod in question is the last one to be changed (Mid Frequency is first, then low frequency, then high frequency) and the requirement has not even been set yet, it could be well into the 2030s before the last ALQ-99 pod is changed. So, it is a radar problem by default.
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ricnunes

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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 01:01

SpudmanWP wrote:All now fighters carry less weapon initially than current fighters. That in no way means that they are less effective as a whole. For the F-35, UAI which is coming in Block 4.1 will open up the choice of weapons significantly.


Agreed.
I would even add the following to what you said:
- Weapons are becoming much more multi-functional/multi-role than previously possible. For example in order to engage well defenced ships you would need dedicated anti-ship cruise missiles (such as the Harpoon, Exocet, etc...) while in order to attack land targets with cruise missiles you would need dedicated cruise missiles for this role (AGM-84E SLAM, Storm Shadow, JSOW-C etc...). Nowadays, we already have and will have cruise missiles which can perform both roles (anti-ship and land target strikes) such as the AGM-84H SLAM-ER, JSM, JSOW-C1, etc...
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 post03 Apr 2018, 01:20

marauder2048 wrote:
ricnunes wrote:While I fully agree with you mixelflick, I must say that your point #3 is also on the Super Hornet's side at least for the time being.
For example the F-35C (or any other F-35 variant) cannot carry Maverick, Harpoon, SLAM-ER and HARM missiles or a variety of cluster bombs such as the CBU-97, all of this weapons are part of the US Navy's inventory and can be carried by the Super Hornet while all weapons carried by the F-35C including the JSOW can be carried by the Super Hornet.


Most of these weapons are are obsolescent or out of production. The Navy is only employing Maverick because they have
been unwilling to integrate APKWS on the Super Hornet. You know there's a problem when the MQ-8B has more
low-collateral damage, moving-target stowed kills than the Super Bug.


I'm not disagreeing with you here. For example once the SDBII is fielded, this weapon will replace a wide variety of weapons, including the Maverick and I would even dare to say, replace Cluster Bombs due to the high number that can be carried (compared to Mavericks of 500lb LGBs) and the effectiveness of each SDBII bomb.
Each JSM or JSOW-C1 will be able to perform the combined roles of Harpoon and SLAM missiles and older JSOWs and effectively replace them and so on...

But in the "for the time being" (note that I said this in my last but one post) the Super Hornet still has an advantage in this point mentioned by mixelflick:
3.) Ability to carry almost every munition in the Navy's inventory


One may argue that this will change soon, which again I would fully agree and one may also argue that the US Navy for some odd reason still operates "obsolescent weapons" which I wouldn't disagree. But still, and again "the time being" the above is still an advantage of the Super Hornet (although a short lived one, I agree).


marauder2048 wrote:The claims about APG-79 being a great AESA have not been borne out by operational testing or employement.
Aside from making the nose heavier and straining the ECS, the APG-79 has been a marginal
at best improvement over the APG-73 and one acquired at tremendous cost.

AFAIK, the APG-79 has not demonstrated the multi-AIM-120 engagement capability that drove
its development in the first place. And I've yet to see any data to suggest that the time-on-wing
for the APG-79 is anything but marginally better than the APG-73.


Pilots have been claiming otherwise.
And for example, I don't think and I definitely do not agree that the ability to perform "simultaneous" Air-to-Air radar modes and Air-to-Ground radar modes is a "marginal improvement", a capability that the APG-79 brings which of course the APG-73 doesn't have.
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 post03 Apr 2018, 01:47

usnvo wrote:Well, you are welcome to find it odd but it is true. It is deficient in several required modes, the Navy Test and Evaluation guys haven't found any statistical improvement over the APG-73, and although they do acknowledge it is more reliable than the APG-73 it is not meeting it's reliability requirements.


Sorry if I may sound "annoying" but again I can only see more "oddities" in the part that I quoted above:
- First, "the Navy Test and Evaluation guys haven't found any statistical improvement over the APG-73" statement is very, very weird since actual pilots say otherwise (they praise the APG-79)! For example and like I previously said in the reply to marauder2048 in my last post, the fact that the APG-79 can perform "simultaneous" Air-to-Air radar modes and Air-to-Ground radar modes is by itself a VAST improvement over the APG-73 which directly contradicts the above statement.
- Secondly, you said that the APG-79 is more reliable than the APG-73 but the APG-79 doesn't meet the "reliability requirements" - This can only leave me to conclude that you are implying that the APG-73 also doesn't meet the "reliability requirements"?! :-?
See what I mean with "finding it odd"?


usnvo wrote:Look in the DOT&E 2016 report under F-18E/F (it is not referenced under the 2017 report because they have not done any further testing on it since they went away with their tails between their legs last time). The Navy is doing additional testing this year which should result it in being declared operationally suitable but since they said that every year since 2008, not sure how much credence to give that.


Sorry, but for the moment I honestly believe that a pig can ride a bicycle better than the DOT&E is able to produce a really accurate report.
And so far, nothing led me to believe otherwise.



usnvo wrote:Well, again, the Testing guys indicate it is a APG-79 problem. Additionally, given that the jammimg pod in question is the last one to be changed (Mid Frequency is first, then low frequency, then high frequency) and the requirement has not even been set yet, it could be well into the 2030s before the last ALQ-99 pod is changed. So, it is a radar problem by default.


Yet the problem will be solved with introduction of the NGJ.
If this was really a radar problem wouldn't you think that the Navy and/or RAAF would try to solve this before the actual introduction of the NGJ which like you said it will need and take a considerable amount time to fully enter in service?
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 post03 Apr 2018, 03:37

usnvo wrote:
ricnunes wrote:
usnvo wrote:Second, the APG-79 has not been declared Operationally Suitable by the Navy yet.


Where did you get this?
I find odd this to be the case since the APG-79 is an integral part of the Block II upgrade and Block II is around for how long? I would say a decade at least.


Well, you are welcome to find it odd but it is true. It is deficient in several required modes, the Navy Test and Evaluation guys haven't found any statistical improvement over the APG-73, and although they do acknowledge it is more reliable than the APG-73 it is not meeting it's reliability requirements. Look in the DOT&E 2016 report under F-18E/F (it is not referenced under the 2017 report because they have not done any further testing on it since they went away with their tails between their legs last time). The Navy is doing additional testing this year which should result it in being declared operationally suitable but since they said that every year since 2008, not sure how much credence to give that.


ricnunes wrote:From what I gather the problem that you mentioned above is not related to the APG-79 radar but instead related to the ALQ-99 jammer pod. For example what's the Navy solution for this same problem that you described above? Upgrading/fixing the APG-79? No, the solution is developing the NGJ (Next Generation Jammer) pod to replace the ALQ-99.


Well, again, the Testing guys indicate it is a APG-79 problem. Additionally, given that the jammimg pod in question is the last one to be changed (Mid Frequency is first, then low frequency, then high frequency) and the requirement has not even been set yet, it could be well into the 2030s before the last ALQ-99 pod is changed. So, it is a radar problem by default.

you didn't read it properly, it talked of mission and dot&e also weren't aware of the reason, it seemed. DOT&E write a report on the data that the USN give it. The fact is that the super hornet was used in a mission state CONOPS, the same as block 1 sh without the aesa. Details of which have already been posted.
That is not to say that there were significant issues with the apg-79 in the early stage of fa-18 systems, after all it was the 5th gen radar for the x-32 and it was retrofitted to the fa-18.
Re the growler, there are problems when you light up the alq99, as said in the dot&e.
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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 04:33

OK, I will try to explain it clearer.

ricnunes wrote:Sorry if I may sound "annoying" but again I can only see more "oddities" in the part that I quoted above:
- First, "the Navy Test and Evaluation guys haven't found any statistical improvement over the APG-73" statement is very, very weird since actual pilots say otherwise (they praise the APG-79)! For example and like I previously said in the reply to marauder2048 in my last post, the fact that the APG-79 can perform "simultaneous" Air-to-Air radar modes and Air-to-Ground radar modes is by itself a VAST improvement over the APG-73 which directly contradicts the above statement.


All of which may be true, assuming it works as designed, but it can still be Operationally insignificant. Let me explain, say the Operational Requirement is to be able to find target X within YYnm and detect a threat aircraft soon enough to avoid them. You launch several of both types and they both achieve the same mission success. Is it easier for one than the other? Maybe, but Operationally it doesn't matter they both achieved the same mission success rate. Perhaps the chosen mission is not difficult enough to showcase the advantages of the APG-79 or perhaps the extra capability provided by the APG-79 has no value to mission success (example being multiple target illumination capability with a FCS that can only engage one target at a time (this is not one of the problems just an example of greater capability providing no Operational benefit)) , I don't know but the Navy hasn't been able to demonstrate a significant statistical difference and no, "I like it better" isn't significant.

ricnunes wrote:- Secondly, you said that the APG-79 is more reliable than the APG-73 but the APG-79 doesn't meet the "reliability requirements" - This can only leave me to conclude that you are implying that the APG-73 also doesn't meet the "reliability requirements"?! :-?
See what I mean with "finding it odd"?


No, but I see you don't understand the issue. Lets say (and I am just making up the numbers and if they match the actual numbers it is purely coincidental) that the APG-73 has a requirement of 10hrs MTBF (or whatever reliability standard they choose, it might not be MTBF but it works for the example) and exhibits 12hrs MTBF. Would you say it meets its' requirements? And lets say the APG-79 has a required MTBF of 25hrs (Hey, its newer and has far fewer moving parts so it should be more reliable. It was sold as being more reliable)) and it has demonstrated 15hrs MTBF. Would you not say the APG-79 has demonstrated itself as more reliable than the APG-73 but yet does not meet its' own requirements? So see, nothing "odd" about it. If you still find it odd, I give up I can not make it any clearer.

ricnunes wrote:Sorry, but for the moment I honestly believe that a pig can ride a bicycle better than the DOT&E is able to produce a really accurate report.
And so far, nothing led me to believe otherwise.


You know if you close your eyes so you can't see or plug your ears so you can't hear, you haven't really changed anything.
The DOT&E just took the Navy's report and consolidated it. The Navy Operational Test and Evaluation guys wrote the report and the Program Office approved it, so frankly I don't see the issue. And I was merely pointing you to where you could read the full litany of APG-79 issues in one place. There are numerous other reports that have addressed the issue in the last decade it has been around. Note that some of the issues are classified so we don't really know what they might be.

ricnunes wrote:Yet the problem will be solved with introduction of the NGJ.
If this was really a radar problem wouldn't you think that the Navy and/or RAAF would try to solve this before the actual introduction of the NGJ which like you said it will need and take a considerable amount time to fully enter in service?


The ALQ-99 was not supposed to cause any interference problems with the radar in the first place so assuming NGJ will fix the problem is burying your head in the sand kind of problem solving. The Navy, Boeing, and Raytheon have been trying to fix the interference issues since the EF-18G began testing! And since the high band pod requirements haven't even been specified yet let alone fixed, it will be a concern for decades to come.

Look, the Navy is not going back to the APG-73 and seems happy with the APG-79 but that doesn't mean it is without problems. Shoot they plan on fitting a version of the APG-79 to some of the legacy hornets. But until the existing problems are fixed, there is virtually no chance the radar will be upgraded to use the radar for jamming.
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Unread post03 Apr 2018, 07:27

you didn't read my post before you posted, or read the link I have previously posted. About the conops and therefore the dot&e report on the block I and block II being mission similarly effective, did you.

If the 99 is jamming on the same and the adjacent frequencies of the 79. It is a big ask for the apg-79 to be unaffected. They are working on it. I'm sure the probable encoding and isolating solution, if there is one. It would be secret. It is after all defeating the jamming of the alq-99 on all bands
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Unread post04 Apr 2018, 19:37

Boeing Super Hornet program gets second life through future sales and upgrades [Details best read at URL]
04 Apr 2018 Valerie Insinna

"...The SLM [service life extension] effort, coupled with future Super Hornet procurement spelled out in the fiscal 2019 budget, has given the F/A-18E/F program a second life. Earlier this decade, it was thought that Super Hornet production could end as early as 2016 or 2017. Now the situation has changed entirely.

“We feel good through the end of 2025 at our current production rate of two per month, and there are lots of opportunities to extend beyond that, perhaps to increase the rate,” Gillian [Boeing’s program manager for the Super Hornet and Growler] told Defense News in an interview. That new business translates into a massive windfall for Boeing.

The Navy intends to spend about $9.2 billion to procure 110 Block III Super Hornets from FY19-FY23, budget documents show. Those jets will roll off Boeing’s production line in 2020 with a 9,000-hour service life, conformal fuel tanks that increase its range, a new cockpit, an enhanced network architecture and signature management improvements that include a reapplication of its stealthy coating....

...Aboulafia said. “The price for not having a plane you can afford in sufficient numbers is the risk of losing a carrier in the budget wars,” he said. “Until they feel comfortable with the price and performance of the F-35C, they are extremely reluctant to give up their only fallback production program.”...

...“Super Hornet is almost 100 percent of the carrier airwing strike force today,” Gillian explained. “There’s just a few legacy Hornets left, and so they need those airplanes out in the fleet to do the Navy’s mission, so that’s why we’re doing it in the two-phase piece for a small subset of the airplanes.”...

...Boeing plans to upgrade all of the Navy’s Block II Super Hornets — about 450 planes — to a Block III configuration. However, it would be cost prohibitive to modernize the service’s remaining Block I jets, which number about 135 aircraft and have a different forward fuselage and less advanced radar, so those will remain in their current configuration.

The new conformal fuel tanks will add 120 nautical of range and the reapplication of stealth coating will reduce the aircraft’s radar cross section by about 10 percent, but the real gamechanger in Block III is the advanced network capabilities, Gillian said.

That upgrade involves a new high-powered computer called the distributed targeting processer network or DTPN and the tactical targeting network technology (TTNT) waveform, both of which are found on the E/A-18G Growler. Having those upgrades will allow the Super Hornet to quickly crunch sensor data onboard and act like a smart node in the service’s Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) architecture, which links together the Navy’s air and sea assets.

“We always say that next-generation fighters are networked and survivable, and DTPN and TTNT is how we make Super Hornet a networked fighter,” Gillian said.

Every carrier air wing will have at least one squadron comprised of Block III Super Hornets by 2024. A second squadron is slated to arrive in 2027 or 2028, depending on when aircraft are induced, he said."

Source: https://www.defensenews.com/digital-sho ... -upgrades/
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 03:13

Nothing but corporate welfare for Boeing. As the F-35C is progressing well and nothing can stop it now. :wink:
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 06:16

Where is that graphic with the rappers making it rain replaced by Uncle Sam in front with Boeing in back as the crew...
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 22:42

ricnunes wrote:all weapons carried by the F-35C including the JSOW can be carried by the Super Hornet.

SDB?

:D
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 23:30

Corsair1963 wrote:Nothing but corporate welfare for Boeing. As the F-35C is progressing well and nothing can stop it now. :wink:


Actually the first F-35C squadron demonstrates the dilemma that the Navy is in and why they keep buying Super Hornets. The first squadron stood down in early 2018 to begin the transition to the F-35C but won't be a deployable asset until 2021. So for three years, there is a one squadron shortfall of strike fighters (more as additional squadrons transition). Buying more F-35Cs than planned only makes this problem worse as it takes that many more squadrons out of the rotation.

Simple problem you say, just add new squadrons, get more maintainers and pilots to cover the shortfall, and handle the transition that way. However, the well is pretty empty at this point. There is already a shortfall in the F-18 community and until the P-8, MQ-4C, E-2D, and EF-18G transitions are complete, there is no pool of bodies to draw from. And, if you take a look around, no other community is willing to give up any bodies to fix Naval Aviation's problems because they have their own issues.

Buying more F-18s actually makes sense, even though it was mismanagement of the F-18 fleet in the first place that makes the issue so immediate, this is especially true if you figure the Navy wants to axe the Block I SHs and replace them with Block II/III. First, the Navy has flown the wings off of the existing SH fleet. Because the Navy has not been properly maintaining the Super Hornet fleet and shorting the depot work, they have a severe shortfall of usable F-18E/Fs now. But new F-18s can be immediately integrated into existing fighter squadrons. They require less maintenance (since they are new) and no new training. This alleviates some of the existing shortfall and has the side benefit of retiring a bunch of unwanted SH Blk Is which are in really bad shape and cannot be easily updated. So better readiness right away and one less standard to worry about down the road.

The ironic thing is that the Navy needs more Super Hornets not because the F-35C has any significant issues, but because the Navy did such a crappy job of maintaining their existing Super Hornet fleets.
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Unread post05 Apr 2018, 23:32

Thanks 'usnvo'.
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