The multi-mission F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” strike fighter is an upgrade of the combat-proven night strike F/A-18C/D. The Super Hornet will provide the battle group commander with a platform that has range, endurance, and ordnance carriage capabilities comparable to the A-6 which have been retired. The F/A-18E/F aircraft are 4.2 feet longer than earlier Hornets, have a 25% larger wing area, and carry 33% more internal fuel which will effectively increase mission range by 41% and endurance by 50%. The Super Hornet also incorporates two additional weapon stations. This allows for increased payload flexibility by mixing and matching air-to-air and/or air-to-ground ordnance. The aircraft can also carry the complete complement of “smart” weapons, including the newest joint weapons such as JDAM and JSOW.
The Super Hornet can carry approximately 17,750 pounds (8,032 kg) of external load on eleven stations. It has an all-weather air-to-air radar and a control system for accurate delivery of conventional or guided weapons. There are two wing tip stations, four inboard wing stations for fuel tanks or air-to-ground weapons, two nacelle fuselage stations for Sparrows or sensor pods, and one centerline station for fuel or air-to-ground weapons. An internal 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon is mounted in the nose.
Carrier recovery payload is increased to 9,000 pounds, and its engine thrust from 36,000 pounds to 44,000 pounds utilizing two General Electric F414 turbo-fan engines. Although the more recent F/A-18C/D aircraft have incorporated a modicum of low observables technology, the F/A-18E/F was designed from the outset to optimize this and other survivability enhancements.
General Electric F414 turbo-fan enginesThe Hughes Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infra-Red (ATFLIR), the baseline infrared system for the F/A-18 E/F, will also be deployed on earlier model F/A-18s. The Hughes pod features both navigation and infrared targeting systems, incorporating third generation mid-wave infrared (MWIR) staring focal plane technology.Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infra-Red (ATFLIR)
Although 41% interdiction mission range increase may be the most notable F/A-18E/F improvement, the ability to recover aboard with optimal reserve fuel and a load of precision strike weapons, is of equal importance to the battle group commander. The growth potential of the F/A-18E/F is more important to allow flexible employment strategies in future years. If an electronically scanned array antenna or another installation-sensitive sensor or weapon system becomes available, the F/A-18E/F has the space, power and cooling to accommodate it. Although the more recent F/A-18C/D aircraft have incorporated a modicum of low observables technology, the F/A-18E/F was designed from the outset to optimize this and other survivability enhancements. The all-F/A-18C/D/E/F air wing brings an increase in capability to the carrier battle group while ensuring the potential to take advantage of technological advances for years to come.
They sloped the outside of the air intake and used radar blocker materials in the inside to reduce RCS, or reflection, but it’s just a re-design with that aim, not a new design with low RCS as an aim from the beginning. (Source: Defense PK)AN-APG-79 Radar Illustration
Features of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet:
- 90% Common F/A-18C/D Avionics: Avionics and software have a 90 percent commonality with current F/A-18C/Ds. However, the F/A-18E/F cockpit features a touch-sensitive, upfront control display; a larger, liquid crystal multipurpose color display; and a new engine fuel display.
- 34 in. Fuselage Extension: The fuselage is slightly longer – the result of a 34-inch extension.
- Two Additional Multi-Mission Weapons Stations: Super Hornet has two additional weapons stations, bringing the total to 11. For aircraft carrier operations, about three times more payload can be brought back to the ship.
- 25% Larger Wing: A full 25 percent bigger than its predecessor, Super Hornet has nearly half as many parts.
- 35% Higher Thrust Engines: Increased engine power comes from the F414-GE-400, an advanced derivative of the Hornet’s current F404 engine family. The F414 produces 35 percent more thrust and improves overall mission performance. Enlarged air inlets provide increased airflow to the engines.
- 33% Additional Internal Fuel: Structural changes to the airframe increase internal fuel capacity by 3,600 pounds, or about 33 percent. This extends the Hornet’s mission radius by up to 40 percent.
|Maximum level speed at altitude||more than Mach 1.8|
|Combat ceiling||13,865 m|
|Minimum wind over deck:|
|Combat radius specification:
Interdiction with four 1,000 lb bombs, two Sidewinders,
|Fighter escort with two Sidewinders and two AMRAAMs||410 nm|
|Combat endurance: maritime air superiority, six AAMs,
three 1,818 liter external tanks, 150 nm from aircraft carrier.
|2h 15 min|
Material Source: FAS Military Analysis Network
Estimated Cost: USD67 million (2012) (Source: Wiki)
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