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Realistically though what is the point of this? I can see the poit if the CFTs extending the usage in flight distance combined with external tanks. But the enclosed weapon pod I just don't understand. Do they think they're going to be needing a precision strike fighter that can get in hit one target and get back out? Isn't that the role of the F-35c? Obviously it's weapon storage with the enclosed pod is minimal so it's not going to be able to strike many targets nor apparently defend itself very well. If you hang pylons on the wings then the stealth aspect is neutralized.

Looks cool

But I just don't get it

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Realistically though what is the point of this? I can see the poit if the CFTs extending the usage in flight distance combined with external tanks. But the enclosed weapon pod I just don't understand. Do they think they're going to be needing a precision strike fighter that can get in hit one target and get back out? Isn't that the role of the F-35c? Obviously it's weapon storage with the enclosed pod is minimal so it's not going to be able to strike many targets nor apparently defend itself very well. If you hang pylons on the wings then the stealth aspect is neutralized.

Looks cool

But I just don't get it

That was sorta the thought that was rolling around in my head as well. You definately said it better.

Curse you Holiday Inn Express and the false confidence you have given me....

Zach

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It's true that the Super Hornet will never be as stealthy as the F-35. That's a fact. But how about these considerations?

-a buyer that can't afford the F-35? would they not want an improved version of current-generation aircraft?

-an existing operator (e.g. USN) that wants to improve the survivability or flexibility of their SH fleet?

As a citizen of a nation that can't always afford the top of the line equipment, I might want to at least look more carefully at this kind of option.

No, this will not make the JSF unnecessary. But it might make the SH better, or even more attractive to potential buyers.

ALF

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Yea obviously it makes the SH better but I still don't understand the enclosed weapon pod. What fits in that? It doesn't look very big.

Is an advanced updated SH really going to be that much cheaper than the F-35 once it gets rolling?

This basically sounds exactly like what the F-117 used to do but they got rid of it. Oh well it still looks cool.

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Yea obviously it makes the SH better but I still don't understand the enclosed weapon pod. What fits in that? It doesn't look very big.

Is an advanced updated SH really going to be that much cheaper than the F-35 once it gets rolling?

This basically sounds exactly like what the F-117 used to do but they got rid of it. Oh well it still looks cool.

According to the video earlier up in the thread, quite a lot fits in there.

I think a significantly updated version of a proven aircraft is likely more easily sold than an F-35. I wouldn't be surprised to find myself working on an RCAF decal sheet for one of these in a couple of years.

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I can't wait to see this bird take flight. I would love to hear the thoughts of Northrop Grumman's CEO given that the Tomcat 21 project was in the pipeline when the Super Hornet was announced and then it was cancelled in favour of the hornet.

Could you imagine the Tomcat being fitted with CFTs, Stealth Weapons pod and internally fitted Laser designator and IR sensors? A lot of the new Super Hornet options now listed on Boeing's website could easily have been retrofitted into the design of a new Tomcat and with it being re-engineered with lighter composite materials and increased power engiens, it would have been a no brainer.

The Growler would look even cooler with CFTs fitted.

A no brainer........yes indeed...thank Dick Cheney for no brains....but Grumman should have cut down on cost cause the Tomcat - with all its might and glory (I like this jet a lot) - was not cheap compared to the Super Hornet.

Now onwards to TopGun2....also the Navy F-22 was an awesome design (but maybe the f-23 even more awesome :)).

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It's true that the Super Hornet will never be as stealthy as the F-35. That's a fact. But how about these considerations?

-a buyer that can't afford the F-35? would they not want an improved version of current-generation aircraft?

If you're considering SHornet as a new buy versus the F-35, then the only way to make it cheaper (if possible) is to buy it with older avionics or just not have them installed at all. Getting it with the Stealth pod basically requires you to purchase the high end avionics/RWR and ECM to actually make the system useful... which brings you over the price of the F-35. The reality is that the F/A-18E (and other aircraft) can't compete with the F-35 because of production scale, most build 1 to 3 a month; the F-35 will be producing 8 to 10. That's a huge difference in terms of cost savings. Really your next cheapest option would be an updated F-16 or something similar.

-an existing operator (e.g. USN) that wants to improve the survivability or flexibility of their SH fleet?

A far more likely scenario... however...

As a citizen of a nation that can't always afford the top of the line equipment, I might want to at least look more carefully at this kind of option.

No, this will not make the JSF unnecessary. But it might make the SH better, or even more attractive to potential buyers.

ALF

Well to be fair, the USN is not looking to fund the Stealth Pod (nor the Enhanced Performance Engine). They have gone with the centerline IRST/Tanker pod, the conformal fuel tank and Type 4 Advanced Mission Computer, which adds some sensor fusion technology.

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... Grumman should have cut down on cost cause the Tomcat - with all its might and glory (I like this jet a lot) - was not cheap compared to the Super Hornet...

You do realize the F-14 was developped under a fixed price contract that nearly killed Grumman as a company. Unexpected rampant inflation in the early 70s and poor material cost projections by Grumman put the company in dire financial straits. It was the FMS sale to Iran that gave Grumman the financial breathing room needed to avoid corporate disaster.

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Could you imagine the Tomcat being fitted with CFTs, Stealth Weapons pod and internally fitted Laser designator, IR sensors and an "EPA" tank to catch and recycle the hydraulic fluid that leaked out of the system before it drained out of the jet?

Fixed it.

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You do realize the F-14 was developped under a fixed price contract that nearly killed Grumman as a company. Unexpected rampant inflation in the early 70s and poor material cost projections by Grumman put the company in dire financial straits. It was the FMS sale to Iran that gave Grumman the financial breathing room needed to avoid corporate disaster until 1994.

Fixed it.

I'd point out that this is the purpose of a FFP contract, btw...and also note that the F-14A as delivered was significantly less capable than what was originally contracted, which the Navy allowed them to do. So, no heartburn here about Grumman's lack of cost estimating skills.

Spongebob

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Quote

Could you imagine the Tomcat being fitted with CFTs, Stealth Weapons pod and internally fitted Laser designator, IR sensors and an "EPA" tank to catch and recycle the hydraulic fluid that leaked out of the system before it drained out of the jet?

Fixed it.

:rofl:

It took a good year of the sun beating down on the Oceana tarmac spots formerly occupied by F-14s before the water stopped beading on top of them when it rained... There's probably a few spots that are still waterproof- like the spots that VF-14 parked their jets on!

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CFTs are smart and logical, and have been used on several types of jets. However, the "pod" is stupid and more of a "lookit us! We can tag along too! We're not obsolete! See?! SEE?!?!" move. The legacy Hornet is just plain obsolete 70s tech and design. The Super Hornet was a slight upgrade to a very outdated design at the time. It was a money saving plan to upgrade it rather than build a new design. That money saving compromise was lackluster in end results, and full of controversy as well (canted pylons? Please!).

Now this is a desperate attempt to keep making money off a design from the 70s. Granted its an updated version of that design, but this plane has long since lived its life and every little thing they tack on it is more and more of a diminishing return on their investment. The only reason they're doing it is because they don't want to spend the money to build something new. With the current economic problems it might kill the company.

That doesn't mean their attempt at self preservation should be viewed as a viable modern design, suitable for military procurement.

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The Super Hornet was a slight upgrade to a very outdated design at the time. It was a money saving plan to upgrade it rather than build a new design. That money saving compromise was lackluster in end results, and full of controversy as well (canted pylons? Please!).

Outside of the basic airframe performance (which was improved with the E/F), the "guts" of an E/F (except for the first few lots) are at least a generation ahead of the C/D. Overall, the Super Hornet program rates as very smart program....introduce the airframe with essentially the C/D internals, then after you get the airframe fielded and the new technology (AESA, computing architecture) mature, start rolling that in...a very low risk approach and with the multi-year procurement acquisition, buying E/F's is a much better business/capability solution than replacing the center barrel on C/D's as the arrival date for the F-35C is on the slide for life. In addition, the F had sufficient growth margin to morph into the G.

FWIW, Tomcat 21 would have been essentially the same acquisition strategy (improve the airframe, improve the guts)...often overlooked was that Grumman was in serious financial trouble at the time; their production facilities in NY had closed and it would have been a HUGE investment to recreate them in St. Augustine (the airfield itself would have needed to be upgraded) -- which due to the financial trouble would have to have been footed by the gov't -- and lets not forget the Grumman/NAVAIR relationship had been quite toxic for some time. Contrast this with McD-D's/Boeing's ability to smoothly switch production to the E/F and G.

Also, in light of the US experience since the introduction of the E/F, the results have certainly NOT been lackluster, in fact I'd argue it was the right plane at the right time.

HTH

Spongebob

Edited by Spongebob

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:rofl:/>

It took a good year of the sun beating down on the Oceana tarmac spots formerly occupied by F-14s before the water stopped beading on top of them when it rained... There's probably a few spots that are still waterproof- like the spots that VF-14 parked their jets on!

We received our Tomcat (161615) at the Combat Air Museum in October 2003. We still have drip pans under it 10 years later.

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