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Have the US Navy Blue Angels switched to the F-18E/F yet?

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Nope.

 

Supposedly they are in the process of acquiring and converting aircraft. The switch from what I understand is still a couple of years away. Others may have more info.

Edited by jpk

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"The transition to the Super Hornet was also discussed. Currently, the team is in their 30th year of flying the Boeing F/A-18 Legacy Hornet. Despite internet rumors of a switch to the Super Hornet in September of this year or at the beginning of the 2018 season, the team plans to continue flying their Hornets for now. In fact, they are currently inducting three “new” Hornets into the squadron.

The target date for transitioning to the Super Hornet is not until 2019, and it was quickly pointed out that it could slip beyond that. There are several Super Hornets already set aside for the team, but they will need to be modified and tested before the pilots can begin training. One step in the right direction was mentioned; apparently a couple (now previous) Blue Angel pilots have already flown the current flight demonstration profile in the Super Hornet simulator and the results seemed positive. Hang in there Rhino fans!"

 

from here http://airshowstuff.com/v4/2017/blue-angels-rock-oshkosh-discuss-super-hornet-transition-plans/

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46 minutes ago, Rex said:

Currently, the team is in their 30th year of flying the Boeing F/A-18 Legacy Hornet. ......

 

Man that makes me feel old. I went to several shows in '86 to see them in their last year in the A-4 and then went to their first four shows in the F/A-18 in '87.... it just doesn't seem like 30 years to me.....  :(

Edited by habu2

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Boeing is currently awarded a contract that is to investigate the necessary changes to convert the F/A-18E/F into Blue Angels. Like already stated the transition wouldn't happen for another couple of years, and the airframes to be used will probably be new-builds.  

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haha Habu.

 

I grew up wanting to see the Tigers, and was actually disappointed when I had to "settle" for seeing the Phantoms when I finally got to go to my first live show.

 

But yeah, that 30 years of Hornets sure rushed by, it seems.

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7 hours ago, Niels said:

Boeing is currently awarded a contract that is to investigate the necessary changes to convert the F/A-18E/F into Blue Angels. Like already stated the transition wouldn't happen for another couple of years, and the airframes to be used will probably be new-builds.  

That would be a departure from the normal practice; the fleet normally gets the newest aircraft due to the harsh nature of the operating environment (carrier traps and cats really beat up an airframe); the Blue Angels normally get airplanes that are older and, to put it bluntly, "used up" for fleet purposes.  Either that, or old airplanes that are not compatible with current fleet standards for software, weapon capability, etc.  It wouldn't surprise me if they received old Lot 25 or so jets from the test community (several of the A models they flew in the past came from that world; relatively low-time jets that hadn't been flown too hard, but were not useful in the fleet due to equipment incompatibilities).

 

I'm not saying that they won't get new jets, just that it is not the norm for the Blue Angels.

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Yeah, the last time I remember them getting "new" jets, they were actually Phantoms that couldn't do front line duties anyway. Back then, "new" meant less capable, if that makes any sense, lol.

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8 hours ago, Joe Hegedus said:

  It wouldn't surprise me if they received old Lot 25 or so jets from the test community....

 

Ha! 137, 146 and 192 are all flying Lot 23-25 aircraft in frontline service. When it came time to transition from C models to the F-35, the F-35 wasn't ready, but the C's were clapped out. The early Lot aircraft that CVW 5 traded in 6+ years ago were in storage, so that's what those squadrons got.

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From what I understand, the mod's required to become a Blue Angel warranted new-produced aircraft but could offcourse be wrong. 

This is the forma announcement text anyway; 
"The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $12,053,076 for cost-plus-fixed-fee, delivery order 0002 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001) for non-recurring design and development engineering for an engineering change proposal for the “Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) Super Hornet Conversion.”  Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri (82.8 percent); and El Segundo, California (17.2 percent), and is expected to be completed September 2017.  Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $12,053,076 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity"

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3 hours ago, Niels said:

From what I understand, the mod's required to become a Blue Angel warranted new-produced aircraft but could offcourse be wrong. 

This is the forma announcement text anyway; 
"The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, is being awarded $12,053,076 for cost-plus-fixed-fee, delivery order 0002 against a previously issued basic ordering agreement (N00019-16-G-0001) for non-recurring design and development engineering for an engineering change proposal for the “Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) Super Hornet Conversion.”  Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri (82.8 percent); and El Segundo, California (17.2 percent), and is expected to be completed September 2017.  Fiscal 2016 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $12,053,076 are being obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity"

That says that Boeing has a contract to do the design work and figure out what it will take to modify the jets.    I'd be surprised if the modifications are very different from what had to be done to the legacy birds, just tweaked for the newer design.

Edited by Joe Hegedus

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Hi,

 

Cool. We still have some time to see them in legacy Hornets and we know they'll get another awesome aircraft in the future.

It could be interesting to go to the Pensacola Homecoming Show at the end of 2021 to catch the last show with the legacy Hornets and then go to the El Centro show at the start of the 2022 season to see the first Super Hornet show.

 

Cheers, Stefan.

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Must be the longest the blues have flown the same type of aircraft since they stood up originally?

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I went to the last A-4 show in '86 and the first (and second and third) F/A-18 shows in '87.

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I would think that the Blue Angels would want to hang onto their legacy Hornets for as long as they are still in the fleet.  They have higher performance than the F-18E, and they burn less fuel.  The F-18E has longer range, can carry more bombs, and has a better radar.  What are the Blue Angels going to do with those capabilities??

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When the Thunderbirds changed to the Block 52 version of the F-16C/D, exactly the same question was asked, and the reply was that the display team shall fly the same aircraft as the operational units to reflect the capacities the frontline units hold. 

Other than that, the Blue Angels, just like the Thunderbirds, will not be carrying bombs. 

 

As for the legacy Hornets they fly today, I believe these are prone to being more and more maintenance intensive, and the change to the E/F will also give a better operational readiness. 

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15 hours ago, Niels said:

When the Thunderbirds changed to the Block 52 version of the F-16C/D, exactly the same question was asked, and the reply was that the display team shall fly the same aircraft as the operational units to reflect the capacities the frontline units hold. 

Other than that, the Blue Angels, just like the Thunderbirds, will not be carrying bombs. 

 

As for the legacy Hornets they fly today, I believe these are prone to being more and more maintenance intensive, and the change to the E/F will also give a better operational readiness. 

The difference with the F-16 is that the newer model had better performance in the same airframe.  Now, the Blues will have somewhat reduced performance with a significantly different size in the airframe.  I'm sure (as I've seen stated) that they would very much prefer to keep the legacy model.  But, you're right that maintenance issues will soon necessitate a change.  At least we have a few more years.  After this summer's show, I was wondering if that was the last time I would see a legacy F-18.

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Quote

When the Thunderbirds changed to the Block 52 version of the F-16C/D, exactly the same question was asked, and the reply was that the display team shall fly the same aircraft as the operational units to reflect the capacities the frontline units hold.

 

While I've no doubt that was part of the Public Affairs answer, a strong corollary to that answer is that the AF was looking to remove all Block 32s from the inventory, and to move all P&W powered F-16s out of Active Duty front line units.  This action was partly to standardize maintenance across the fleet for GE engines in the front line units, partly to get the more powerful GE powered aircraft in all front line units (again, Active Duty, at least), and partly to remove the Block 32s from the inventory altogether.  It was also to get some younger airframes into the Thunderbirds, because they put nearly double the utilization rate on their aircraft vs. the front line fleet.  Combine that UTE rate with the very high AB and continual G-loading, and wear and tear on the aircraft is pretty high.

 

So, sure, it kind of reflects front line unit use, but it's more of a fleet management issue.  I suspect nearly everything I quoted above also applies to the Blue Angels as the Navy largely divests itself of Legacy Hornets.

 

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The F/A-18E/F without tanks, pylons etc should give a good show non-the-less I'm sure. 

 

As for divesting the block 32's from the USAF, many linger on still as agressors with the 64AS (not ex-Thunderbirds!) 

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I think the Blues should go straight to the F-35. Of course, that may be 2030 before the Navy ever gets Charlie models to the fleet squadrons. 😊

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