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Max Q
Topic Author
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F18 Underpowered?

Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:29 am

From all accounts the 'Super Hornet' is, by no means overpowered and lags behind many contemporary and older aircraft in performance.

They had an opportunity to boost the power considerably over the C version when they developed the E/F and produce a worthy successor to the magnificent F14.

Anyone know why they didn't ?
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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ferrypilot
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:06 am

Do you think you would be feeling underpowered if you were sat in an F18 right now?  duck 
 
ebj1248650
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:21 am



Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
From all accounts the 'Super Hornet' is, by no means overpowered and lags behind many contemporary and older aircraft in performance.

I have never heard the airplane is underpowered. I had heard it wasn't as good in the manueverability department as some would like. Still, from what I've read, the airplane is popular with its crews and does the job it was designed to do very well.
Dare to dream; dream big!
 
Max Q
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:20 am

Not, in comparison to my Camry Ferry Pilot but that wasn't really the question !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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SkyyKat
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:58 am

I've seen it take off from a runway with no afterburner then go vertical and disappear before my eyes. And that was a CF-18, so as a veteran Cessna 172 pilot I would answer 'no' to your question....

Now I do not have much military knowledge, but considering the popularity of the aircraft and what I have seen at air shows, only the F-22 impressed me more. F-16 a close second to the F-18  Smile
 
Alien
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:58 pm

I'm not much for youtube demos but this one should put to bed any notion that the SH is underpowered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeDWlJauHwQ
 
rheinwaldner
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:10 pm

It is a multi role aircraft. It also replaced the A6 which is a role that does not need as much thrust as the air-to-air role. Consequenlty thrust is a compromise too.
I think on dogfighting the super hornet lost against most present fighters. At least against the Rafale for which I have source.
Many things are difficult, all things are possible!
 
ferrypilot
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Thu Nov 13, 2008 11:20 pm



Quoting Max Q (Reply 3):
Not, in comparison to my Camry Ferry Pilot but that wasn't really the question !

Sorry mate. ...I understood what you meant, I was just having some fun. Personally I would very much like to be sat in an F18 right now and so I could probably live with the power to weight ratio.
 
Max Q
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:12 am

I was doing a little leg pulling myself Ferry Pilot..

No question the F18 has get up and go, it's just that every account I read of it's performance
against other fighters it comes up short.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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eyes2thesky
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:59 am



Quoting Alien (Reply 5):
I'm not much for youtube demos but this one should put to bed any notion that the SH is underpowered.

Am I seeing things in that video, or are the horizontal stabilizers also used for roll control? Looks like there are times (for example, roll initiation) when the left- and right- stabilizers aren't moving in unison, or to the same degree. Pretty nifty if true.
AA,AL,B6,CO,C5,C8,DA,DL,FI,F9,HP,LH,MQ,NW,OO,TZ,UA,US,WN,XJ,YV,ZW,VX
 
LMP737
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 2:07 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 5):
I'm not much for youtube demos but this one should put to bed any notion that the SH is underpowered.

Demo's at airshows are not exactly a good measure of thrust to weight. I'm sure you can find video's of the F-14A that looked very impressive. Did not change the fact that the F-14A was underpowered.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
SCAT15F
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:09 pm

The F-18A/B/C/D are definitely NOT underpowered, (especially with the upgraded F404's) but the Super Hornet IS, Although the Super Hornet does address some of the Hornet's maneuverability deficiencies with the improved LERX. Boeing also messed up big time with the outward canted stores pylon issue. Consequently, the Super Hornet is the first USN fighter to be incapable of breaking the sound barrier at sea level since the '50's.
 
Max Q
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:28 pm

That's what I was referring to S15F I think the original F18 was a good performer in all respects
except range.

The 'Super Hornet' seemed to address the range issue but seems very short on installed thrust for it's weight which is mystifying.

Was / is there no suitable engine that could provide the required performance.

I realise their Electronic suite is probably superior to other nations aircraft, but, as you say it's speed shortfall is nothing but an embarassment.

I think there are several Russian fighters that could run rings around it !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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speedracer1407
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:21 pm



Quoting Eyes2thesky (Reply 9):
Am I seeing things in that video, or are the horizontal stabilizers also used for roll control? Looks like there are times (for example, roll initiation) when the left- and right- stabilizers aren't moving in unison, or to the same degree. Pretty nifty if true.

You're not seeing things. Stabilators that assist in (or are the primary means of) role control are common on pretty much any modern fighter.
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SCAT15F
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:56 pm



Quoting Max Q (Reply 12):
Was / is there no suitable engine that could provide the required performance.

The problem is, the Super hornet is (basically) a hornet with fuselage plugs, reshaped intakes, and new wings/tails. There was no change to engine bay diameter, and the F-414 is the same physical size and has the same fan diameter as the F404. So thrust was not able to grow proportionately with the airframe.

the new Gripen did not need extensive modification to go from the F404 to the F414

In fact, with some minor intake mods, the F-18C/D could use the F-414.
Now THAT would make for a very good thrust to weight ratio, especially with the current F414 thrust uprade plans (26-27,000 lbs)
 
Alien
Posts: 416
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:23 pm



Quoting Max Q (Reply 8):
it's just that every account I read of it's performance
against other fighters it comes up short.

Who are you hearing it from?

Quoting Eyes2thesky (Reply 9):
Looks like there are times (for example, roll initiation) when the left- and right- stabilizers aren't moving in unison, or to the same degree. Pretty nifty if true.

True so nifty.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 10):
Demo's at airshows are not exactly a good measure of thrust to weight.

You have no clue about what you are talking about. Let me know how many fighters are going to take of and roll dirty with tanks and stores. Let me know when you find a Tomcat or any other plane doing that trick. Everyone does nifty climbs and the SH can do that to. Not every fighter has power, lift or "carefree handling" to be able to do that at low speed and altitude with the gear and flaps down. You are right on one thing, airshow demos are not a good measure of thrust to weight but that was not an airshow demo and it demonstrated so much more than just thrust to weight.


Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 11):
The F-18A/B/C/D are definitely NOT underpowered, (especially with the upgraded F404's) but the Super Hornet IS,

Nice try, thanks for playing. F-18 T/W ~ .95, Super Hornet T/W ~ .93. Numbers used are from: http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1200&ct=1
I know it's the Navy and they lie about weight and thrust.


Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 11):
Consequently, the Super Hornet is the first USN fighter to be incapable of breaking the sound barrier at sea level since the '50's.

Balony. Got a reliable source for that?

The fact is the Navy is very pleased with the SH. In fact they are so happy they are buying more. The Navy is also pleased with the power the F414s put out since they have opted not to procure the enhanced 27,000 pound version that is available now.




 eyepopping 
 
SCAT15F
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:02 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 15):
Balony. Got a reliable source for that?

Yes. Everyone else but you, apparently. This has been known for a long time and is old news.

Ever wonder why the Navy won't publish the E/F's sea level speed? Read any blog written over the past 10 years on this issue and you'll find the same thing every time. The E/F has too much drag to break mach 1 at sea level.

deal with it.
 
jutes85
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:44 am



Quoting Eyes2thesky (Reply 9):
Am I seeing things in that video, or are the horizontal stabilizers also used for roll control? Looks like there are times (for example, roll initiation) when the left- and right- stabilizers aren't moving in unison, or to the same degree. Pretty nifty if true.

Not sure how it is in the SH, but in the original Hornet the computer controls which flight controls move in response to pilot input.

Quoting Alien (Reply 15):
The fact is the Navy is very pleased with the SH. In fact they are so happy they are buying more. The Navy is also pleased with the power the F414s put out since they have opted not to procure the enhanced 27,000 pound version that is available now.

I always believed opposite. That the SH was never a true replacement of the Tomcat and that they are only buying more until the JSF is ready, similar to what the Aussies are doing. I could be wrong though.
nothing
 
Alien
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 5:41 am



Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 16):
Ever wonder why the Navy won't publish the E/F's sea level speed?

The Navy (and Air Force) do not publish sea level speed for any operational fighter.
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1100&ct=1
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1200&ct=1
http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=101
http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=103
Notice the top speed of the Super Hornet compared to legacy Hornet?

Just in case you think it's an American thing:
http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/tornado.cfm
http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/harriergr9.cfm
http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/tornadof3.cfm
http://www.raf.mod.uk/equipment/typhooneurofighter.cfm

So again:

Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 16):
Quoting Alien (Reply 15):
Balony. Got a reliable source for that?

Yes. Everyone else but you, apparently. This has been known for a long time and is old news.

Who is everybody? Certainly not the Navy, certainly not Boeing
http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/...litary/fa18ef/docs/EF_overview.pdf
Certainly not Northrup Grumman
http://www.is.northropgrumman.com/systems/fa18efsuperhornet.html

So again. Got some facts or do you just read fan boy blogs and regurgitate what they spew?

Quoting Jutes85 (Reply 17):
That the SH was never a true replacement of the Tomcat

It's better than the Tomcat. It has better avionics, better armament, better sortie rate, better handling, better maneuverability, better economics, more versatile. About the only thing the Tomcat does better is top end speed and range.

This may give you an idea of how the navy feels about the Super Hornet.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1795647/posts
 
Jabs
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:50 am



Quote:

The SuperHornet Is A Superfailure


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 ).


"By JAY A. STOUT
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 rivals 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".


 
LMP737
Posts: 5979
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RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:20 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 15):
You have no clue about what you are talking about. Let me know how many fighters are going to take of and roll dirty with tanks and stores. Let me know when you find a Tomcat or any other plane doing that trick. Everyone does nifty climbs and the SH can do that to. Not every fighter has power, lift or "carefree handling" to be able to do that at low speed and altitude with the gear and flaps down. You are right on one thing, airshow demos are not a good measure of thrust to weight but that was not an airshow demo and it demonstrated so much more than just thrust to weight.

Three and a half years in a Navy fighter squadron tells me I know more than you think I know. Ever hear of dummy stores? You think that dummy ordinance weighs the same as live ordinance? It does not, but since you seem to have all the answers you probably already knew that. Those drop tanks; you think those are full to capacity?

Put empty drop tanks on an F-14B/D along with some dummy ordinance you could do the same thing.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
LMP737
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Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:26 pm



Quoting Eyes2thesky (Reply 9):
Am I seeing things in that video, or are the horizontal stabilizers also used for roll control? Looks like there are times (for example, roll initiation) when the left- and right- stabilizers aren't moving in unison, or to the same degree. Pretty nifty if true.

Differential movement, other aircraft has it as well.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
Alien
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:00 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:40 pm

Why thank you Jabs for that long winded opinion piece from someone who has never flown the Super Hornet, had nothing to do with the Super Hornet. Thanks for trotting that one out as expert opinion. I know a few Cessna pilots who disagree with Colonel Stout but they never flew the Super Hornet either. So lets say we use the opinions of people who actually fly and fight in it and who have to stake their life on it.

Here is but one excerpt from the Navy League on the OPEVAL of the SH in 1999:

Quote:
Three single-seat F/A-18E and four two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets were put through their Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) paces by Air Test & Evaluation Squadron Nine (VX-9) at the squadron's home base at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif., at Naval Air Station Key West, Fla., and at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The squadron flew 1,233 hours in more than 850 sorties and expended more than 400,000 pounds of ordnance during the six-month OPEVAL.

"This is the best news the Navy's carrier forces have received in a long time," said Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Cook, the program executive officer for tactical aircraft programs. "It will ensure that throughout the next 20 years the fleet will be capable of countering the evolving threat."

The Navy said that the OPEVAL report specifically cited the Super Hornet's "key enhancing features"--growth potential, weapons-bringback capability, survivability, range, and payload. No new deficiencies were found during the OPEVAL, Navy officials said.

Some pilots who have flown the Super Hornet have expressed concern that the new strike fighter is slower than some of its future potential adversaries. Godwin said that the Super Hornet's speed deficiency will be tactically compensated by the AIM-9X version of the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the new Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System.

Also adding to the aircraft's capabilities, Navy officials said, are several other systems slated for installation in the Super Hornet: (a) the Advanced Tactical Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) system (in 2002); (b) a new electronic countermeasures system; and (c) the Airborne Electronically Scanned Array (AESA), which will be built by Raytheon to replace the aircraft's APG-73 radar beginning in 2006.

http://www.navyleague.org/sea_power/apr_00_05.php

Quote:
Cook and his associates at NAVAIR all were experienced fleet aviators before entering their specialized fields of aerospace engineering and aircraft development. "We had spent time flying at sea," Cook continued. "We knew the challenges, the loneliness, and the fears. We wanted to do our part to develop one of the best-engineered aircraft in the world--one that would raise perform-ance to new levels of effectiveness and reliability."

Preliminary assessments by pilots and maintenance personnel of all four Super Hornet squadrons indicate that the aspirations and expectations of aeronautical engineers at Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and NAVAIR are being met during the early months of the F/A-18E/F's introduction to the fleet.

http://www.navyleague.org/sea_power/june_02_07.php

Lets try and keep to the facts shall we.
 
Alien
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:00 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 3:55 pm



Quoting LMP737 (Reply 20):
Ever hear of dummy stores? You think that dummy ordinance weighs the same as live ordinance? It does not, but since you seem to have all the answers you probably already knew that. Those drop tanks; you think those are full to capacity?

I can tell you used pictures rather than words to get your point across. Good thing those maintenance manuals had pictures huh. Read again what I wrote. Where did I mention weight in regard to the external stores being used? I said dirty. Flaps, gear and stores. I was referring to it's ability to use lift and thrust to an extent that other (F-14 included) aircraft cannot do.

You are right about fuel in tanks and that is why you should never put much stock in airshow videos showing a plane zooming vertical like a rocket. You cannot tell by looking at it how much fuel it has in it's tanks. On the other hand you certainly can tell the aerodynamic state of the SH in the video I provided.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 20):
Put empty drop tanks on an F-14B/D along with some dummy ordinance you could do the same thing.

Doubtful.
 
Jabs
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:32 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 6:41 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 15):


The fact is the Navy is very pleased with the SH. In fact they are so happy they are buying more.


They are replacing the Tomcat. Furthermore, the Tomcat and the Super Hornet have something the Hornet doesn't has, bring-back capability and range.

Quoting Alien (Reply 18):


It's better than the Tomcat. It has better avionics, better armament, better sortie rate, better handling, better maneuverability, better economics, more versatile. About the only thing the Tomcat does better is top end speed and range.


That's not a surprise giving the time-frame between them, and the fact that, in spite of the F-14B and F-14D, the Tomcat was never seriously upgraded, take a look at the variants proposed by Grumman.

Quoting Alien (Reply 22):

Why thank you Jabs for that long winded opinion piece from someone who has never flown the Super Hornet, had nothing to do with the Super Hornet. Thanks for trotting that one out as expert opinion.


I didn't asked for thanks, nor I've said it was an 'expert' opinion. I've got what I was looking for, an opinion to that comment.

Quoting Alien (Reply 22):

Some pilots who have flown the Super Hornet have expressed concern that the new strike fighter is slower than some of its future potential adversaries. Godwin said that the Super Hornet's speed deficiency will be tactically compensated by the AIM-9X version of the Sidewinder air-to-air missile and the new Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System.


AIM-9X, Iris-T, ASRAAM, AA-11, MATRA Mica, Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, its future potential adversaries also have them.
Those MiGs and Sukhois being exported today are no longer the degraded variants they used to be in the past. They also have western avionics.
 
SCAT15F
Posts: 719
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:34 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:09 pm

Alien: here's some facts to munch on....

Reported Super Hornet Problems

Flight Journal Magazine ^ | February 2002 Issue | Bob Kress and RADM Gilchrist USN (Ret)

(Rear Admiral Paul Gillcrist U.S. Navy (Ret.) spent 33 years as a fighter jet pilot and wing commander and was operations commander for all Pacific Fleet fighters. Bob Kress is an aeronautical engineer and, during his long career at Grumman, he was directly involved in the development of the F-14 Tomcat.)

Although the Navy has been working very hard to correct F/A-18E/F OPEVAL problems, it is worth summing them up: the production of the F/A-18E/F is significantly overweight with respect to its specifications (30,000 pounds empty weight). This is far in excess of what one would expect for a variant of an existing F/A-18 A, B, C, or D. Aircraft weight estimation methods could, and should, have been much better; in fact, when we look objectively at the F/A-18E/F, we see an airplane with a brand-new wing, new fuselage and new empennage – in other words, a new airplane. This is, therefore, what Congress would call a “new start.” Both Congress and the Department of Defense (DOD) had to be looking the other way when the Navy was permitted to slip this airplane by as a simple modification of an existing airplane.

In combat-maneuvering flight, the aircraft had severe “wing-drop” problems that defied resolution, despite the use of every aerodynamic analytical tool available. Eventually, one test pilot cam up with a “leaky-fold-joint” fix that opened chordwise air slots to aspirate the wing’s upper surface flow and thereby prevent the sharp stalling of one wing before the other. The stalled more or less together, but much easier and more severely than before. This new fix is what the aerodynamicists call a “band aid.” It causes aircraft buffeting, which is generally a source of wing drag. But a “fix” that combined “acceptable” wing drop with “acceptable” buffeting had been achieved. One test pilot commented dryly, “I’d like the buffeting levels to be a little lower so I could read the heads-up display!”

Owing to its high drag and weight (and probably other factors), the F/A-18E is significantly poorer in acceleration than the F/A-18A. Also, its combat ceiling is substantially lower, and its transonic drag rise is very high. We have stayed in touch with some pilots at the Navy’s test center and have gathered some mind boggling anecdotal information. Here are some examples:

An F/A-18A was used to “chase” an F-14D test flight. The F-14D was carrying four 2,000-pound bombs, two 280-gallon drop tanks, two Phoenix missiles and two Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. The chase airplane was in a relatively “clean” configuration with only a centerline fuel tank. At the end of each test flight, the chase airplane was several miles behind the test airplane when the chase airplane reached “bingo” fuel and had to return to base.

An F/A-18E Super Hornet is tested using the same chase airplane, an earlier model Hornet, in the same configuration. The chase airplane does not need full thrust to stay with the test airplane.

An F/A-18E/F in maximum afterburner thrust cannot exceed Mach 1.0 in level flight below 10,000 feet even when it is in the clean configuration (no external stores). At 10,000 feet, the F-14D can exceed Mach 1.6.

A quote from a Hornet pilot is devastatingly frank: “The aircraft is slower than most fighters fielded since the early 1960s.”

The most devastating comment came from a Hornet pilot who flew numerous side-by-side comparison flights with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and says: “We outran them, we out-flew them and we ran them out of gas. I was embarrassed for them.”
 
LMP737
Posts: 5979
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:47 am



Quoting Alien (Reply 23):
I can tell you used pictures rather than words to get your point across. Good thing those maintenance manuals had pictures huh.

All this dumb mechanic did was point out that airshow demo's are not a good gauge of thrust to weight. You're the one who decided to get nasty. What's funny is that you agreed with me so I'm not exactly sure what the problem is. Before you go off and say that demo was not an airshow demo let me point out that is was still a demo. A demo put on by the manufacturer, a fluff piece basically.

What's funny about your comments regarding MM's having pictures is that one day you might fly on an aircraft maintained by this dumb mechanic. Who's the dumb one now?

Quoting Alien (Reply 23):
Doubtful.

Why, just because you say. Let's see here, an aircraft designed with low speed handling in mind, wings at 20, full span flaps and two GE F110 engines.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
Alien
Posts: 416
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:00 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sun Nov 16, 2008 6:06 am



Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
They are replacing the Tomcat. Furthermore, the Tomcat and the Super Hornet have something the Hornet doesn't has, bring-back capability and range.

The Navy was so happy with the Super's performance and capabilities that they retired the Tomcat 5 years earlier than originally planned. They where supposed to go to 2010.

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
the Tomcat was never seriously upgraded, take a look at the variants proposed by Grumman.

The F-14D certainly was a serious upgrade as it replaced not only the engine but the radar and the avionics. The F-14D was in effect a new aircraft under the skin.

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
I've got what I was looking for, an opinion to that comment.

You got an opinion from someone who has zero hours in the jet and is not a naval aviator.

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
AIM-9X, Iris-T, ASRAAM, AA-11, MATRA Mica, Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, its future potential adversaries also have them.

Which really drives in the point that the last thing you want to do is get in a dog fight with your adversary. Ever wonder why the AIM-120 is being upgraded and the Meteor is being developed? It really does not matter if you can do M1.8 or M2.5. It does not make a difference. What makes a difference is the ability to see your enemy first, how well your plane points and how good your missile and ECM is. Training and tactics are also huge.

Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 25):
Flight Journal Magazine ^ | February 2002 Issue | Bob Kress and RADM Gilchrist USN (Ret)

Yup, Kress designed the F-14 and Gilcrist finished his career in them. So what. Kress wanted to resurrect the F-14 and modernize it and technology passed Gilcrest (who never flew in an F-18) by. So anyway what has happened since February 2002? Haven't heard much from then since. Maybe all those operational sorties by the Super over AStan have shut them up?

Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 25):
Owing to its high drag and weight (and probably other factors), the F/A-18E is significantly poorer in acceleration than the F/A-18A.

Says who?

Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 25):
Also, its combat ceiling is substantially lower, and its transonic drag rise is very high.

Super Hornet Ceiling: 50,000+ feet.
Hornet Ceiling: 50,000+ feet.
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1200&ct=1

Quoting SCAT15F (Reply 25):
and its transonic drag rise is very high

Super Hornet Airspeed: Mach 1.8+.
Hornet Airspeed: Mach 1.7+.
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1200&ct=1
How do they do that if transonic drag is higher and the plane is underpowered?

As for the rest it's just hearsay and like I said, have you anything newer than 2002? No of course not since the Super is out flying and fighting and doing everything the Navy wants it to do and doing it well.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 26):
All this dumb mechanic did

You said it not me.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 26):
What's funny is that you agreed with me so I'm not exactly sure what the problem is

Again, you cannot "fluff" the fact that the airframe was very dirty. The demo succesfully showed the Super's power, lift and controlability far better than you could than in most demos where the plane does a vertical climb.

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 26):
Why, just because you say. Let's see here, an aircraft designed with low speed handling in mind, wings at 20, full span flaps and two GE F110 engines.

Because it does not have the same precise handling as the Super, lift or thrust to weight as the Super.
 
Jabs
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:32 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:49 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 27):

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
They are replacing the Tomcat. Furthermore, the Tomcat and the Super Hornet have something the Hornet doesn't has, bring-back capability and range.

The Navy was so happy with the Super's performance and capabilities that they retired the Tomcat 5 years earlier than originally planned. They where supposed to go to 2010.


Are you sure? Or was a cust saving measure?

Quoting Alien (Reply 27):

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
the Tomcat was never seriously upgraded, take a look at the variants proposed by Grumman.

The F-14D certainly was a serious upgrade as it replaced not only the engine but the radar and the avionics. The F-14D was in effect a new aircraft under the skin.


When I said that "the Tomcat was never seriously upgraded" I meant about the number of F-14Ds.

Quoting Alien (Reply 27):

Quoting Jabs (Reply 24):
I've got what I was looking for, an opinion to that comment.

You got an opinion from someone who has zero hours in the jet and is not a naval aviator.


I've got what I was looking for, an opinion to that comment from someone on this forum.
 
rheinwaldner
Posts: 1856
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:58 pm

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:22 am

After studying the superhornet I think that it is underpowered. That means that it just has less power per weight than most (all?) others.
http://www.google.ch/search?hl=de&q=...m,+we+out-flew+them%22&start=0&sa=

This whole article underlines that fact:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m.../ai_n9030925/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1

It is a compromise. The air-to-air capability may suffice but they surely are not top notch. As a tactical fighter their weakest point possibly is the limited range.
Quote from above article:
"The F/A-18E Super Hornet has been improved but still has, at best, 50 percent of the F-14D's capability to deliver a fixed number of bombs (in pounds) on target. This naturally means that the carrier radius of influence drops to 50 percent of what it would have been with the same number of F-14Ds. As a result, the area ot influence (not radius) drops to 23 percent! No wonder the USN is working on "buddy tanker" versions of the Super Hornet. "

Discused here too:
https://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/9767/
Many things are difficult, all things are possible!
 
Max Q
Topic Author
Posts: 8110
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 11:07 am

It seems like this whole mess was precipitated by the A12 disaster. The lack of a dedicated, true replacement for the A6 meant the Navy had to find the capability in another, 'cheaper'
airframe.

Perhaps if the S Hornet had been dedicated to the strike role and not promoted as a multi role
F18c replacement while upgrading the -c with greater power and internal fuel (conformal tanks perhaps ?) you would see a more significant power projection capability.

As it is it seems the Navy is trying to make one inadequate, underpowered, aerodynamically inferior airframe a Jack of all trades, when it seems to be a master of none.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
flipdewaf
Posts: 3421
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 6:28 am

RE: F18 Underpowered?

Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:06 pm



Quoting Alien (Reply 27):
Super Hornet Airspeed: Mach 1.8+.
Hornet Airspeed: Mach 1.7+.
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=1100&tid=1200&ct=1
How do they do that if transonic drag is higher and the plane is underpowered?

Because M1.7 is not in the transonic range.

Fred
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