Why is there so little love for the F-18 Super Hornet?

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

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Unread post09 May 2022, 16:43

To answer the OP's question, the SH just isn't an inspiring aircraft.

In everything from looks to function, the SH just seems to fall short. Never feared like the F-14/AWG-9 when it was new, nor as big, fast or demon looking like a Phantom. It's kind of just.. there. Gets the job done although not the best at anything and dominating in nothing ('cept perhaps ease of maintenance).

I think the real consternation surrounds the fact we could have done better. Much better by almost every metric (Super Tomcat). The SH (right, wrong or indifferent) is seen as slow, short legs and a minivan vs. a Formula 1. I rather doubt people will despair when it flies off into the sunset. In stark contrast to the F-14, and certainly other teen series (15 and 16) when their time comes...
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post09 May 2022, 17:38

Seems like an argument out of emotion and “cool factor”.

The Super Hornet is a workhorse than got the job done. Not the best looking, or all out best performance, but it’s reliable and got the job done. It is also much more sustainable, and look at the Russians to see what happens if you focus only on performance or raw numbers but not on less “cool” stuff like availability, sustainability, or system integration.

Then again history is full of workhorses that get the job done but don’t “inspire”, like the Hawker Hurricane, which claimed many more victories than the legendary Spitfire. Or like how the F4U Corsair was a better fighter in terms of performance than the F6F Hellcat, but it’s the simple and reliable Hellcat that got the job done.

Maybe the overly emotional ones despair when the F-14 or whatever aircraft sunsets and leaves the service.
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viperzerof-2

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Unread post10 May 2022, 03:03

I always liked the super hornet’s looks. I liked the legacy better but I appreciated the newness look the super always seemed to have.
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hornetfinn

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Unread post11 May 2022, 13:25

Super Hornet has definitely had some very good strong points:

- AESA radar well before other fighter aircraft received equivalent radar. Only F-22 and handful of F-15s got AESA radars before Super Hornet. Of course the Japanese also had their F-2, which was equipped with AESA few years before Super Hornet but their production rate has been really slow and less than 100 were manufactured.

- Overall avionics has been very good compared to other 4th gen fighters at any one time. Most competitors have been lacking in some areas, but SH has always had very extensive and modern (4th gen) avionics systems.

- Very complete weapons package as SH is cleared for and uses a lot of different types of weapons

- It's cheaper to buy and operate than most 4th gen competitors. It also has very good reliability and availability record.

Of course it has some shortcomings, although some of those are a result of carrier capability which most competitors don't need to care for.
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ricnunes

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Unread post11 May 2022, 14:50

I agree with hornetfinn, viperzerof-2 and disconnectedradical!

I have admit that I have a very hard time understanding what "little love" or "lack of cool factor” about the Hornet and Super Hornet means since I'm a Hornet/Super Hornet fan. For me and above the Hornet/Super Hornet there's only the F-35 in terms of which aircraft I like the most.

This being said and going to the more practical and stuff that really matters, I totally and completely disagree that the Super Hornet falls short compared to the F-14 (or worse even, falls short compared to the F-4). From what I've been reading it seems that most pilots (and personal conversation with a couple of them) that transitioned from the F-14 to the Super Hornet and thus flown both aircraft would never go back to the F-14 if they had to choose which mount they would like to take to war/real combat.

I also believe that if a certain film called "Top Gun" never happened then there wouldn't be "so many people" complaining about the F-14 having been replaced by the Super Hornet.
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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disconnectedradical

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Unread post11 May 2022, 15:04

Don’t get my wrong the F-14 was very capable and quite revolutionary at the time, and looks do count for something. I don’t think the Hornet looks bad, as much as the F-14 just looks awesome. For right or wrong, we got the Super Hornet instead of F-14D, and it’s speculation on what could have been, but whatever the case is, the Super Hornet is reliable and got the job done.

But that being said, the Navy should be sunsetting the Super Hornet soon and get the F-35C, which is a much more capable aircraft.
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ricnunes

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Unread post11 May 2022, 16:21

disconnectedradical wrote:Don’t get my wrong the F-14 was very capable and quite revolutionary at the time, and looks do count for something. I don’t think the Hornet looks bad, as much as the F-14 just looks awesome. For right or wrong, we got the Super Hornet instead of F-14D, and it’s speculation on what could have been, but whatever the case is, the Super Hornet is reliable and got the job done.

But that being said, the Navy should be sunsetting the Super Hornet soon and get the F-35C, which is a much more capable aircraft.


I fully agree with you! :thumb:
“Active stealth” is what the ignorant nay sayers call ECM and pretend like it’s new.
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charlielima223

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Unread post11 May 2022, 23:50

To the general public the Hornet and the Super Hornet doesnt have that "wow factor" unless it is painted blue and gold flying tight formations. Movies like Top Gun and The Final Countdown has cemented the F-14 in popular culture. Further more the F-14 was the inspiration for the VF-1 Valkyrie in the original Macross series. Hell I even have a blu-ray copy of a documentary called Speed and Angels about two young naval aviators being part of the last new class of F-14 pilots. The Hornet just doesnt get media attention. Also you have to think about branding. What sounds cooler to an everyday joe who knows nothing about military aviation; Fighting Falcon, Viper, or Hornet?

While the Hornet gets little to no love from the general public, it is adored and valuable to the military and has a made a name for itself for boys on the ground.
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basher54321

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Unread post12 May 2022, 00:00

charlielima223 wrote: What sounds cooler to an everyday joe who knows nothing about military aviation; Fighting Falcon, Viper, or Hornet?

While the Hornet gets little to no love from the general public, it is adored and valuable to the military and has a made a name for itself for boys on the ground.





Would hope that the Super Hornet gets a similar attachment from anyone young watching Top Gun2 8)
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