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The SuperHornet Is A Superfailure.  
User currently offlineRodrigo Santos From Brazil, joined Sep 2001, 87 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5685 times:

I here reproduce a message sent by Tomcat114 in another forum:

That is the original title of the following comment about F/A-18E given by Lt. Col. Jay Stout, a USMC fighter pilot, combat veteran, and the author of "Hornets Over Kuwait" (these views are his own and do not represent the views of the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, or the United States government ).

The Virginian-Pilot,
December 15, 1999

I am a fighter pilot. I love fighter aircraft. But even though my service --I am a Marine-- doesn't have a dog in the fight, it is difficult to watch the grotesquerie that is the procurement of the Navy's new strike-fighter, the F/A-18 E/F Su per Hornet.

Billed as the Navy's strike-fighter of the future, the F/A-18 E/F is instead an expensive failure - a travesty of subterfuge and poor leadership. Intended to over come any potential adversaries during the next 20 years, the air craft is instead outperformed by a number of already operational air craft - including the fighter it is scheduled to replace, the original F/A-18 Hornet.

The Super Hornet concept was spawned in 1992, in part, as a re placement for the 30 year-old A-6 Intruder medium bomber. Though it had provided yeoman service since the early 1960s, the A-6 was aging and on its way to retirement by the end of the Gulf War in 1991. The Navy earlier tried to develop a replacement during the 1980s - the A-12 - but bungled the project so badly that the whole mess was scrapped in 1991. The A-12 fiasco cost the taxpayers $5 billion and cost the Navy what little reputation it had as a service that could wisely spend taxpayer dollars.

Nevertheless, the requirement for an A-6 replacement remains. Without an aircraft with a longer range and greater payload than the current F/A-18, the Navy lost much of its offensive punch. Consequently it turned to the original F/A-18 - a combat-proven per former, but a short-ranged light bomber when compared to the A-6. Still stinging from the A-12 debacle, the Navy tried to "put one over" on Congress by passing off a completely redesigned aircraft - the Super Hornet - as simply a modification of the original Hornet.

The obfuscation worked. Many in Congress were fooled into believing that the new aircraft was just what the Navy told them it was - a modified Hornet. In fact, the new airplane is much larger - built that way to carry more fuel and bombs - is much different aerodynamically, has new engines and engine intakes and a completely reworked internal structure. In short, the Super Hornet and the original Hornet are two completely different aircraft despite their similar appearance.

Though the deception worked, the new aircraft - the Super Hornet - does not. Because it was never prototyped - at the Navy's insistence - its faults were not evident until production aircraft rolled out of the factory. Among the problems the aircraft experienced was the publicized phenomenon of "wing drop" - a spurious, uncommanded roll, which occurred in the heart of the air craft's performance envelope. After a great deal of negative press, the Super Hornet team devised a "band-aid" fix that mitigated the problem at the expense of performance tradeoffs in other regimes of flight. Regardless, the redesigned wing is a mish-mash of aerodynamic compromises which does nothing well. And the Super Hornet's wing drop problem is minor compared to other shortfalls. First, the air craft is slow -- slower than most fighters fielded since the early 1960s. In that one of the most oft- uttered maxims of the fighter pilot fraternity is that "Speed is Life", this deficiency is alarming.

But the Super Hornet's wheezing performance against the speed clock isn't its only flaw. If speed is indeed life, than maneuverability is the reason that life is worth living for the fighter pilot. In a dog fight, superior maneuverability al lows a pilot to bring his weapons to bear against the enemy. With its heavy, aerodynamically compromised airframe, and inadequate engines, the Super Hornet won't win many dogfights. Indeed, it can be outmaneuvered by nearly every front-line fighter fielded today.

"But the Super Hornet isn't just a fighter", its proponents will counter, "it is a bomber as well". True, the new aircraft carries more bombs than the current F/A-18 - but not dramatically more, or dramatically further. The engineering can be studied, but the laws of physics don't change for anyone - certainly not the Navy. From the beginning, the aircraft was incapable of doing what the Navy wanted. And they knew it.

The Navy doesn't appear to be worried about the performance shortfalls of the Super Hornet. The aircraft is supposed to be so full of technological wizardry that the enemy will be overwhelmed by its superior weapons. That is the same argument that was used prior to the Vietnam War. This logic fell flat when our large, ex pensive fighters - the most sophisticated in the world - started falling to peasants flying simple aircraft designed during the Korean conflict.

Further drawing into question the Navy's position that flight performance is secondary to the technological sophistication of the air craft, are the Air Forces' specifications for its new - albeit expensive - fighter, the F-22. The Air Force has ensured that the F-22 has top-notch flight performance, as well as a weapons suite second to none. It truly has no ri vals in the foreseeable future.

The Super Hornet's shortcomings have been borne out anecdotally. There are numerous stories, but one episode sums it up nicely. Said one crew member who flew a standard Hornet alongside new Super Hornets: "We outran them, we out-flew them, and we ran them out of gas. I was embarrassed for those pilots". These shortcomings are tacitly acknowledged around the fleet where the aircraft is referred to as the "Super-Slow Hornet".

What about the rank-and-file Navy fliers? What are they told when they question the Super Hornet's shortcomings? The standard reply is, "Climb aboard, sit down, and shut up. This is our fighter, and you're going to make it work". Can there be any wondering at the widespread disgust with the Navy's leadership and the hemorrhaging exodus of its fliers?

Unfortunately, much of the damage has been done. Billions of dollars have been spent on the Super Hornet that could have been spent on maintaining or upgrading the Navy's current fleet of aircraft. Instead, unacceptable numbers or aircraft are sidelined for want of money to buy spare parts. Paradoxically, much of what the Navy wanted in the Super Hornet could have been obtained, at a fraction of the cost, by upgrading the cur rent aircraft - what the Navy said it was going to do at the beginning of this mess.

Our military's aircraft acquisition program cannot afford all the proposed acquisitions. Some hard decisions will have to be made. The Super Hornet decision, at a savings of billions of dollars, should be an easy one".

Any comments?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 5573 times:

Yep, it was an ill-timed project.

The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offlineFlyhigh@tom From United Arab Emirates, joined Sep 2001, 415 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5575 times:

WOW...i never knew this side of the "Superhornet's" story!!!

Watching TV i too was convinced when the USN told that the super hornet was indeed a very advanced form of the hugely successful hornet and that they had saved billions of dollars by modifying and perfecting an existing aircraft rather than starting from scratch! Man, who would not fall for it !?!

Well if the plane is really as bad as it is being made out here, then i think US will find it out soon....the hard way. Pity those pilots  Crying

I would really like to hear Superhornet's comments on this one. John are you there? I guess you just will have to take out the F18 E/F from your favourite planes list, Anyway i know that you will do a good research on this one.  Big thumbs up

User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 3, posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 5553 times:

The part with the congress being fooled into believing that the Super Hornet is a modified Hornet when it actually wasn't reminds me of the TU-22M. The Soviet AF and the Tupolev design bureau wanted an advanced bomber while the Soviet leadership were sticking to developing ballistic missiles, so they told the stupid bureacrats (sp?) that the TU-22M will be a modified TU-22. At least the F-18E/F looks somewhat similar to earlier F/A-18's, the TU-22M has nothing in common with the original TU-22. The "modifications" included a variable geometry wing!


Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineRodrigo Santos From Brazil, joined Sep 2001, 87 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5547 times:

Don’t bother with Superhornet reading this... He said that would not read any of my topics anymore, a true maybe because he knows I would show to everyone that plane he thinks is the best is in fact a bad design. Maybe deep inside he knows that.

User currently offlineDIALLO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (14 years 8 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5538 times:

A lotta $$$ could've been saved by re-winging and upgrading the A-6, which the Superhornet fails to even come close in payload and range capability. Even more by contiunuing the F-14D program .

This article hits the nail on the head when it refers to the Vietnam war where our "technologically advanced" F-4s, went up against supposedly "inferior" Mig-17s and got shot out the sky untill we re-evaluated our tactics and sent our pilots back to stick and rudder school.

Our current generation of fighters (F-14-15-16-18) reflect the lessons learned in that conflict but it seems the powers that be are leaning back into that phase where they think microprocessors will win the war.

What happens when a 13 year-old kid on a 486 computer finds out how to defeat the effects of "stealth" technology and the F-117s and B-2s become expensive bullseyes ? Imagine a few of the GPS birds go offline, now your plotting your own targeting and navigation info, buddy.

This beauraucratic B.S. that goes on between congress, the military, the defense contractors, and so on will get a lotta people killed.

User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5528 times:

How does the F-14 reflect the lessons learned in Vietnam?


Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineContact_tower From Norway, joined Sep 2001, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5527 times:

The F-14 is was intended to be a fleet air defence fighter, for blue water operations, and do not reflect that much the lesson learned in Vietnam.

(It's mission was to fend off AS missiles and their carriers, and is such not the most agile fighter in the world, but packs a truly impressive range in both aicraft and weaponry)

User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5508 times:

The F-14 does not reflect the lessons learned in Vietnam at all. Don't get me wrong, its good at what is was designed to do, and that is being a flying air defense battery. Its a big, complicated, heavy, underpowered (in its original version, anyway), and doesn't have the best manouverability. Even the earlier version of the F-4 that were criticized so much would do better in a Vietnam-style conflict than the Tomcat. All I'm basically saying is that the F-14's design was not influenced by the war in Vietnam.  Smile


Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineDIALLO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5505 times:

The Tomcat was the first current generation fighter designed with a "bubble" canopy: Lesson #1 learned from flying F-4s with horrible rear vision. The Tomcat was the first current generation fighter equipped with a 20mm cannon for close in fighting: Lesson #2 learned from flying Navy F-4Bs with no internal gun

Very manoeuverable for a 50,000 plus fighter, the F110 equipped cats can hold their own against Eagle drivers, has better high AOA handling than a hornet or a Falcon, and when the speed winds down, its in a class all by itself.

User currently offlineWhistler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5496 times:

Here is another document about problems with the Stooperhorror:


User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (14 years 8 months 1 day ago) and read 5486 times:

I believe you haven't replied to the "Military Forum Proposal" thread yet. I think it is important that all active participants of the military forum do. The link is: http://www.airliners.net/discussions/military/read.main/3687/


Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineCX747 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4555 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (14 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5444 times:

I thought that I was the only one out there worried about the Super Pooper. I like Dick Cheney, but his decision to kill the F-14D and go for the Super Hornet was a big mistake. Hopefully, the JSF will provide some more punch than the F/A-18 E/F.

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
User currently offlineDIALLO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (14 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 5432 times:

Well, I guess if I received all the kickbacks that good ol' Dicky-boy got in his pocket from McDonnell Douglas and Boeing, I woulda gave the preverbial finger to Grumman as well.  Smokin cool

I'll tell ya, I know absolutely nothing at all about the JSF. From what I can gather, the Navy is gambling the future of the Flattops on a bird which is supposed to have both stealth and V/STOL capability ??? Wonder how that'll turn out. That wing area looks awfully small. Probably have even less range than the StupidHornet.

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