Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Super Hornet

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

"The Super Hornet is substantially a new aircraft, which shares only limited structural commonality with the F/A-18A-D family of fighters. While the F/A-18E/F forward fuselage is derived from the F/A-18C design, the wing, centre and aft fuselage, tail surfaces and powerplants are entirely new. The baseline avionic system is however largely derived from the F/A-18C, with planned growth through further evolved derivatives of the radar, EW and core avionic systems, and entirely new systems where appropriate.
It was the intended replacement for the F-14, the Navy Advanced Tactical Fighter, a 'swing wing' F-22 derivative, was too expensive for the downsized US Navy budget.
Sizing around a 36% greater internal fuel load than the F/A-18C, with the aim of retaining the established agility performance of the F/A-18C, resulted in a larger wing of 500 sqft area, against the 400 sqft area of the F/A-18C, a 25% increase. The consequent sizing changes result in a 30,885 lb empty weight (31,500 lb basic weight) aircraft, a 30% increase against the F/A-18C. Not surprisingly, the aircraft's empty weight is 8% greater than the F-15C, reflecting the structural realities of catapult launches and tailhook recoveries.

The larger F414 engine, a refanned and evolved F404 derivative, delivers 20,700 lb static SL thrust in afterburner, which is around 8% less than the F100-PW-220 in the F-15C. 
With three 480 USG drop tanks, full internal fuel, combat and reserve fuel allowances, 8 x AIM-120 AMRAAMs and 2 x AIM-9 Sidewinders, the aircraft has a point intercept radius cited in excess of 650 NMI, with some assumptions made about expended missiles. This is radius performance in the class of the clean F-15C. 

Like the F/A-18A-D, the F/A-18E/F was designed from the outset for a dual role fighter bomber mission environment. The enlarged wings have three hardpoints each, typically loaded with a pair of 480 USG tanks inboard and weapons on the pair of outboard stations. The wingtip Sidewinder rail is retained. 

Structurally the Super Hornet is built largely from aluminium alloys, with extensive use of carbon fibre composite skins in the wings, and titanium in several critical areas. The design load factor limit of 7.5G is identical to the F/A-18A-D, at an unspecified gross weight.

Until recently, Super Hornets were delivered with the Raytheon APG-73 radar, not unlike the F/A-18A/B HUG radar. Most recent deliveries see the new APG-79 Active Electronically Steered Array (AESA) radar fitted."

Air Power Australia

Recently, Boeing made upgrades to the Super Hornet adding conformal fuel tanks (CFT), IRST, a stealth pod carrying weapons and a 3D avionics display.

The CFTs carries 1360 KG of fuel on each tank giving the Super Hornet more range.

It also has a centerline mounted weapons pod able to carry a combination of weapons including AMRAAM, JDAM and SDB. The pod is in a stealth configuration which also reduces drag. The pod can also carry a 2000IB Mk82 bombs; another 2 Aim-120 or 4 to 6 SDB. This enables the Super Hornet to free up weapons stations and be in a dogfight in a low drag, highly survivable configuration.

Under the nose of the Super Hornet is the IRST. The Super Hornet is also equiped with a laser warning system on top of the plane in between the CFTs.

The cockpit is also equiped with a 3D single screen display which is a 11 by 19 inch liquid display touch. This allows aircrew to download real time imagery and information straight from the battlefield including the ability to control UAVs.

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