Block III Super Hornet, FY15

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

Should Boeing begin in-house funding for a block III Super at this time?

Yes
14
82%
No
3
18%
 
Total votes : 17

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geogen

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Unread post02 Jun 2010, 04:46

It's FY11, the USN has suspended funding for the F-35C variant. What do you propose as a critical jump-start Boeing requirement for an interim, evolved block III Super?

Completely aerodynamically redesign the airframe? Just redesign the wing/pylons? Just upgrade the engine thrust, systems and integrated weapons??

(note to mods: if you need to redirect this to another forum, so be it. I was only thinking it would qualify on an equal level, as the Golden Eagle timeframe).
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madrat

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Unread post02 Jun 2010, 05:29

Priority would be on the VTOL variant.
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Lightndattic

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Unread post02 Jun 2010, 13:22

madrat wrote:Priority would be on the VTOL variant.


VTOL Super Hornet? Strap a SRB to the centerline station and light that sucker off, huh?

Geo, serious answer- they would HAVE to address some of the aerodynamic shortcomings of the Hornet airframe were they to progress to a block 3 (mainly a new wing). They already have state of the art avionics and engines with a pretty well defined evolution path for reliability and additional thrust. Fix the package it's installed into, I say.
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madrat

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Unread post02 Jun 2010, 15:18

SRB or two, whichever gets it off the deck in one piece. I was thinking more along the lines of F100/F110 engines and just using a tilt trailer to launch it vertical. The bigger engines will give it plenty of lift. Of course you're going to have to cut down on the amount of internal fuel as your engines are going to take up all that extra space. Better make it compatible with the AF 610-gallon tanks. To get the weight down you're going to have to cut down on that pesky electronics weight in the VTOL version...... :-)

On a more serious note, its hard to justify much on changing the external appearance considering its for FY 2015. I think you're limited to cosmetic changes at best. In such a short time frame, what can you really change? I think your normal SH program is getting pretty darn good from a technological standpoint. Your Block III may just look more like the recent order than any F/A-18 and F-35 hybrid program. And if that is the case, I think you order on what role you want the new airframes to fill 10 years into the future. Maybe they'll want to center it around the Growler's scheme rather than the SH.

edit: Viperalltheway has some interesting ideas below. How about this?

1. Start with the EF-18G model as the baseline for any new Super Hornets
2. Strengthen the entire airframe for an operational 9G manuevering (up from peace-time 7.5G)
3. Strengthen the wing for AIM-120D's at the wingtips (best fire the heaviest missiles first, keep remaining missiles near COG)
4. Certify the outer wing stations (2, 8) for 480-gal (1820 L) fuel tanks when operating from the carriers
5. Strengthen the inner wing stations (3, 7) and oversize the landing gear to allow for RAM coated 610-gal (2309 L) fuel tanks (tanks as proposed for F-15SE) when operating from land
Last edited by madrat on 02 Jun 2010, 19:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Viperalltheway

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Unread post02 Jun 2010, 16:31

I would try to get rid of the centerline tank to reduce drag. Mount the IRST in the nose. Use the straight centerline station for an AMRAAM launcher or a small ejector mounted in a small pylon. Modify the wingtip stations for AMRAAMs.

Standard config in a/a :
1 centerline AMRAAM on a small pylon
2 AMRAAMs on conformal stations
1 AMRAAM on 1 wingtip station
1 9X on the other wingtip station.
No wing pylon

With only 2 missiles mounted on the wingtips, the a/c should be good for 9Gs, so I would modify the FCS for 9Gs in that config.

It should be able to supercruise relatively well with the new engines, and the RCS would be reduced because of the lack of centerline tank and wing pylons.

The a/c would have roughly the same range because of a significant reduction of drag ( no tank, no pylon)

Add AESA E/R modules in the wing leading edge to increase the probability of first detection.

For the strike role it's good as it is.
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wrightwing

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Unread post04 Jun 2010, 15:49

Higher thrust, improved aerodynamics, improved avionics, internal IRST, would be the areas I'd think would be most beneficial.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post04 Jun 2010, 16:20

you cannot "improve" the aerodynamics without doing some very time consuming and costly R&D. The Super Hornet suffers from high wave drag, deal with it. It has amazing lifting surfeces and controlability. You cant really improve the avionics either other than trying to integrate an IRST. It was not designed to have an internal IRST (there may be room however) and certainly wasnt designed for LEF radar arrays. So basicly the easiest way to upgrade the SH is new varients of the 414. Range sucks? They have a better TSFC in the EDE. Power not enough? the EPE has 20% more go power (at the cost of 20% higher fuel burn rate...) The SH is very succesful in my eyes as it was put in service and in vast numbers in a comparitively short time. It is a phenominal 4th gen jack of all trades... and I mean ALL trades. In Viet' Nam there were some 10 airframes doing the job that the SH does today. That saves you a LOT of money.
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geogen

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Unread post05 Jun 2010, 06:45

Fair post, scottsmn, thanks.

Not sure though if the EPE plant will burn 20% higher rates though, equating to 20% higher thrust - but your point is made. Note also, the standard SH might require AB at some points in the flight including takeoff to altitude, where the EPE'd SH could suffice with Mil power only?

I'd only respond to (and concur with) some comments made thus far: that upgrades to things such as power, off-the-shelf situational awareness, self-protection, weapon integration and next gen cockpit display could be done within the next 3 yrs perhaps. A separate development program could independently work on improved airframe attributes however, which could arguably produce some significant design enhancements within a timeframe even less than that of the original SH development span.
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madrat

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Unread post05 Jun 2010, 13:18

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:Power not enough? the EPE has 20% more go power (at the cost of 20% higher fuel burn rate...)


Not necessarily a bad thing. It fits the old saying, "Use it or lose it." If your survival depends on that little performance edge its worth every drop of fuel.
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bjr1028

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Unread post05 Jun 2010, 16:09

EPE is supposed to be 26k at same burn rate or 20% better fuel burn rate at 22k.
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Unread post05 Jun 2010, 17:00

you sure about that? a 20% improvement in burn rate would be rather extreme in afterburning power. Thats like dropping the TSFC from 1.9-2.1 to 1.52-1.68. I dont think any AB engine has ever gotten close to those numbers. I am NOT an engine guy, but such an improvement just seems a bit far fetched. Anyone with expertise in this area that can lend a word or two???
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wrightwing

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Unread post05 Jun 2010, 17:40

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:you cannot "improve" the aerodynamics without doing some very time consuming and costly R&D.


Even if they came up with a lower drag pylon, that'd be a huge aerodynamic benefit.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post07 Jun 2010, 19:45

the pylon itself is not the problem, the problem is that the pylon is canted outward at an angle. While I do not recall the reason for this, rest assured there is one.
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wrightwing

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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 14:40

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:the pylon itself is not the problem, the problem is that the pylon is canted outward at an angle. While I do not recall the reason for this, rest assured there is one.


I realize that the pylons that are currently used are canted for a reason. My point is that if they worked on a design that allowed safe weapons release while improving aerodynamics, it would be a huge advantage performance wise.
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Unread post08 Jun 2010, 16:38

Okay, I see where you are at now. Sorry if I came off a little rough.
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