Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Look At The Upgraded F-18 Super Hornet

The Navy’s Carrier-Launched Fighter is Getting a Spiffy Upgrade -- Robert Beckhusen, War Is Boring

But will America’s admirals buy it over the F-35?

The Navy hasn’t put the money down for it yet. But this week, Boeing wheeled out a major upgrade to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Navy’s standard carrier-launched fighter plane. The new Advanced Super Hornet is stealthier, more powerful and boasts a much greater flying range than its predecessor.

It’s practically a brand-new jet. And an affordable one: $56 million for a factory-fresh copy or an estimated $14.6-$22 million to add the enhancements to an older Super Hornet. The heavily upgraded fighter is an option if admirals start getting cold feet over the troubled, $200-million-per-copy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The upgrades are designed to be subtle. Instead of keeping the weapons attached to the outside of the plane like in a conventional F/A-18, the Advanced Super Hornet holds its missiles and bombs — 2,500-pounds worth — inside an enclosed pod. This smoothes out the plane’s contours and makes it harder to detect with radar.

Read more ....

My Comment: What appeals to buyers are the costs and the fact that existing F-18 maintenance crews can carry over their training to this new Super Hornet .... saving even more money. If the F-35 continues to have problems .... and the U.S. defense budget continues to be cut .... the F-18 Super Hornet is/will be a viable alternative.

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