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Differences between the F/A-18 A and C Hornet


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On 6/5/2023 at 2:06 PM, GreyGhost said:

Also of note in Thadeus' photos is the early style centerline pylon with the straight up vertical edge ...

 

-Gregg

 

Not really 'early' any longer. I've got a couple shots of Deltas from just a few years ago with them as well. 

 

247142356-4378693105583307-4544810206343

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Good points Dave ...

I just meant that if one was modelling an early Hornet say, pre-LERX fences, it most likely would have the straight edge C/L pylon rather than the angled one ...

Sorry about any confusion ...

 

-Gregg

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I'm also wondering if the engraving on the intakes on the Kinetic kits for all Hornets with ovoid intakes is accurate.

I recall someone posting a picture somewhere illustrating that these are not separate panels and consequently are devoid of any panel lines.

 

That would save me an afternoon's engraving which I'm not too fond of.

 

Can anyone help?

 

Thanks,

Marc.

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There are lines of rivets that can sometimes look like a panel line.

Although, I seem to remember a pic of a CF-188 that seemed to have a panel line.

 

Some photos to back it up links from primeportal:

 

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/azrael_raven/fa-18b_a21-112/images/fa-18b_a21-112_42_of_92.jpg

 

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/bill_spidle2/fa-18d_164652/images/fa-18d_164652_10_of_20.jpg

 

Here it looks like a panel line:

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/azrael_raven/fa-18b_a21-112/images/fa-18b_a21-112_84_of_92.jpg

 

and from Cybermodeller (looks like a panel line again):

 

https://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/fa-18/images/frouch_fa-18a_18.jpg

 

https://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/fa-18/images/frouch_fa-18a_16.jpg

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Thadeus said:

There are lines of rivets that can sometimes look like a panel line.

Although, I seem to remember a pic of a CF-188 that seemed to have a panel line.

 

Some photos to back it up links from primeportal:

 

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/azrael_raven/fa-18b_a21-112/images/fa-18b_a21-112_42_of_92.jpg

 

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/bill_spidle2/fa-18d_164652/images/fa-18d_164652_10_of_20.jpg

 

Here it looks like a panel line:

http://data3.primeportal.net/hangar/azrael_raven/fa-18b_a21-112/images/fa-18b_a21-112_84_of_92.jpg

 

and from Cybermodeller (looks like a panel line again):

 

https://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/fa-18/images/frouch_fa-18a_18.jpg

 

https://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/fa-18/images/frouch_fa-18a_16.jpg

 

 

 

 

Excellent shots Thadeus, thanks for that.

 

Indeed not too many separate panels by the looks of it.

 

I've never really understood what the perforations(?) are on the splitter plates - some kind of boundry layer air control?

 

Look like just the splitter plates and (but it's hard to tell) the outside of the intakes themselves are pretty much devoid of panel lines then.

 

Thanks,

marc.

 

 

 

 

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On 6/22/2023 at 1:12 PM, serendip said:

Excellent shots Thadeus, thanks for that.

 

Indeed not too many separate panels by the looks of it.

 

I've never really understood what the perforations(?) are on the splitter plates - some kind of boundry layer air control?

 

Look like just the splitter plates and (but it's hard to tell) the outside of the intakes themselves are pretty much devoid of panel lines then.

 

Thanks,

marc.

 

 

 

 

Yes, those holes are to allow the higher-pressure air to leak away from the intakes, via the splitters.

 

Something nobody has mentioned yet about A vs C are the V/UHF antennae. The A models are the older stubby, straight antennae, while A+ (post ECP-583 A models) or C have a slanted, longer whip style antenna. This was concurrent with the change of radios from A to C and A+.

Another difference can be later C and A+ will have a GPS antenna on the upper dorsal spine. It looks like a lump. C models also have extra ECM bumps on the dorsal spine just behind the canopy, which A and A+ do not have.

Finally, the A will have asymmetrical jammer antennae under the intakes, while C models are symmetrical.

This picture shows an early CF-18A+, with the 'whip' style V/UHF antenna. The early-style GPS antenna is the little round bump behind the tall radio antenna. Later, these were replaced with larger, flatter lumps.

 

If anyone has any specific questions, I have a bunch of comparison shots, and a lot of knowledge of the transition. I flew early A models in 1987, and also post-retirement I worked in the CF-18 simulators that reflected the upgraded A+ versions.

ALF

 

Ecp3.jpg

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On 6/23/2023 at 9:29 PM, ALF18 said:

Yes, those holes are to allow the higher-pressure air to leak away from the intakes, via the splitters.

 

Something nobody has mentioned yet about A vs C are the V/UHF antennae. The A models are the older stubby, straight antennae, while A+ (post ECP-583 A models) or C have a slanted, longer whip style antenna. This was concurrent with the change of radios from A to C and A+.

Another difference can be later C and A+ will have a GPS antenna on the upper dorsal spine. It looks like a lump. C models also have extra ECM bumps on the dorsal spine just behind the canopy, which A and A+ do not have.

Finally, the A will have asymmetrical jammer antennae under the intakes, while C models are symmetrical.

This picture shows an early CF-18A+, with the 'whip' style V/UHF antenna. The early-style GPS antenna is the little round bump behind the tall radio antenna. Later, these were replaced with larger, flatter lumps.

 

If anyone has any specific questions, I have a bunch of comparison shots, and a lot of knowledge of the transition. I flew early A models in 1987, and also post-retirement I worked in the CF-18 simulators that reflected the upgraded A+ versions.

ALF

 

Ecp3.jpg

Hi ALF,

Thanks for your kind offer to help out with listing the differences between early 'A and 'C models. I think I have most of them mapped now but good to know you're happy to help.

I'm also interested in (realistic) ordnance for the early 'A variant but am however planning a USN and not a RCAF jet. Not sure if you can help there, I've no idea if RCAF loadouts were comparable to USN.

Thanks,

Marc.

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Oh. Realistic. Well, there was a photo of an TF-18A, I believe, loaded with five MER racks full of mk82's. Hardly a legal loadout. I doubt that Hornet could take off with it. Can't find it though. It must have been from an airshow or something.

For loadouts of VFA-125 here You can find some:

https://www.seaforces.org/usnair/VFA/Strike-Fighter-Squadron-125.htm

But only thing I see in the early days are empty racks.

 

You could go with a 2x2 mk.82's on BRU-33 VER mounted on inboard wing stations with a single fuel tank. Or one of my favourite, 8 mk.82's on four of these. Seems like a legit load from early days up until at least late 1990's.

Check out the first pic from this article by Dave Roof. http://www.clubhyper.com/reference/mk82dr_1.htm

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Thadeus said:

Oh. Realistic. Well, there was a photo of an TF-18A, I believe, loaded with five MER racks full of mk82's. Hardly a legal loadout. I doubt that Hornet could take off with it. Can't find it though. It must have been from an airshow or something.

 

 

That photo was, I believe, in the original F-18 Detail and Scale book.  It was a VFA-125 jet, IIRC, on display at an airshow, but it didn't fly like that.  Back in the day (early 80s) a much younger me built a TF-18 in Australian markings with 30 MK-82s on MERs, because at the time I assumed that if the kit instructions said it was OK, it was OK, and there was that cool picture of an F-18 with that load... it never occurred to me that they might hang stuff on the jet that it couldn't actually fly with or use, or that the kit manufacturer would provide incorrect info in the instructions.

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VFA-125 was the F/A-18 school house. It would be dire circumstances for them to deploy for combat. I don't know how much weapons training they would have done, but I wouldn't expect live weapons at all on their planes.  Looking through the photos on the seaforces site it did remind me of the early oval cross section fuel tank. From photos on that site they were using it still in 1986, but it was gone in 1990.

 

https://www.flyingleathernecksdecals.com/p/fl48-8053-fpu-6a-oval-fuel-tank-for-early-fa-18ab

 

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1 hour ago, Crash Test Dummy said:

VFA-125 was the F/A-18 school house. It would be dire circumstances for them to deploy for combat. I don't know how much weapons training they would have done, but I wouldn't expect live weapons at all on their planes.  Looking through the photos on the seaforces site it did remind me of the early oval cross section fuel tank. From photos on that site they were using it still in 1986, but it was gone in 1990.

 

h

 

There were still some FPU-6 tanks laying around at SATS/VX-23 at Pax in the early 2000s, but I don't recall ever seeing one on a jet at that point.

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On 5/23/2023 at 5:24 AM, Quixote74 said:

 

Not directly relevant for the OP's purposes but the second pair of 'blister' antennae on the fuselage sides below the cockpit seems to me a rather tough recognition feature since they're often in shadow due to the LERX.  The pair of larger (and much more visible from most angles) blister antennae on the dorsal spine behind the cockpit, along with a third on the underside behind the nose gear, have always been the quickest way for me to tell a C/D from an earlier airframe.

 

Another A vs. C distinction not mentioned yet is the ejection seat.  All A/Bs and early production C/Ds had SJU-5/6 seats (part of the prolific Martin Baker Mk 10 series). The later production C/Ds onward used the NACES seat  (SJU-17/ MB Mk 14).

 

Technically in the payload category, an early A in strike configuration would have different pods from a C or upgraded A.  Standard early setup was an ASQ-173 Laser Spot Tracker/strike camera starboard and an AAS-38 Nite Hawk FLIR to port.

Thanks Quixote,

The ASQ-173 Laser Spot Tracker/strike camera starboard and AAS-38 Nite Hawk FLIR to port would be used together and would be used to support GBU's? Which GBU's would be typical for early 'A's?

Also which stations specifically would the ASQ173 and AAS-38 be placed at? Underwing or on the fuselage - 4 and 6 or 3 and 7?

Thanks,

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5 hours ago, serendip said:

Thanks Quixote,

The ASQ-173 Laser Spot Tracker/strike camera starboard and AAS-38 Nite Hawk FLIR to port would be used together and would be used to support GBU's? Which GBU's would be typical for early 'A's?

Also which stations specifically would the ASQ173 and AAS-38 be placed at? Underwing or on the fuselage - 4 and 6 or 3 and 7?

Thanks,

 

They weren't always used together and neither were required to carry or expend GBU's. The 173 was always mounted on station 6 and the 38 was always on station 4 with adapters specific to each (there was no other way to carry them). For the GBU on early Alphas, it would have been -12, -16 or -10.

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/26/2023 at 1:49 PM, serendip said:

Hi ALF,

Thanks for your kind offer to help out with listing the differences between early 'A and 'C models. I think I have most of them mapped now but good to know you're happy to help.

I'm also interested in (realistic) ordnance for the early 'A variant but am however planning a USN and not a RCAF jet. Not sure if you can help there, I've no idea if RCAF loadouts were comparable to USN.

Thanks,

Marc.

Sorry to be so late in picking this up again - busy moving, etc.

USN and USMC used similar but more weapon varieties than we did.

Mk 82, Mk 83, Mk 84 all possible. The two smaller bombs (82 and 83) could go on VERs on either of the wing stations, but most likely 2 and 8 because they would use more fuel (i.e. 3 tanks) when hogged up with bombs.

Nighthawk pod on station 4 would provide laser designation, and FLIR tracking.

Early LGBs would be carried, as would Mavericks

USN/USMC carried HARMs

Mk 20 Rockeye cluster bombs on VERs

BL-755 cluster bombs possible (not sure if USN used these, or just Canada).

Canada used LAU 5003 with 19 rockets per pod, CRV-7 rockets on VERs. Stations 2 and 8. USN didn't have these, but may have carried other 2.75'' rocket pods.

For A/A, they could carry: (# AIM7/#AIM9/Full gun)

2/6/+ 2 AIM 7 (cheek stations), and up to 6 AIM 9 (one each wingtip, and two under each outboard pylon on dual-launcher LAUs).

4/2/+ : 4 AIM 7 (cheeks, plus one each on LAU single launcher on 2 and 8,) and 2 wingtip AIM 9s.

Gulf War asymmetric load 4/3/+ : (2 AIM 9 on station 2 or 8, dual launcher, plus 2 on wingtips, and AIM 7 on each cheek and under one of station 2 or 8.

That's all I can tell you about early USN/USMC A models.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I read through this once and haven’t read it a second time, I don’t think anyone has mentioned the gun door, Kinetic offers several options and you need to make sure you put the proper door on, this door runs along the bottom of the fuselage just behind the radome. On later Hornets there are different vents and antenna options, use the option with the cow udder.

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2 hours ago, Scooby said:

I read through this once and haven’t read it a second time, I don’t think anyone has mentioned the gun door, Kinetic offers several options and you need to make sure you put the proper door on, this door runs along the bottom of the fuselage just behind the radome. On later Hornets there are different vents and antenna options, use the option with the cow udder.

Thanks indeed, quite a challenge to figure out the correct one. I finally figured it out for VFA-87, decals are also hard to figure out, especially which shade to use and also some do not seem to be on the sheet.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all,

 

I'm finishing up now on the Kinetic F/A-18C in VFA87 colors, 2014, over Iraq.

 

This kit was not much fun in my opinion - it turned out O.K. but the lazy instructions and mediocre fit at times meant it's remained a struggle.

 

Anyway it turned out not too bad but the kit includes no decals for the missiles that I can find, in contract to the instructions which show decal placement for the missles.

 

So which kind soul can help with which AIM-9X and AIM-7 colors would be suitable for 2014 Hornets?

 

Thanks all,

 

Marc.

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23 hours ago, serendip said:

Hi all,

 

I'm finishing up now on the Kinetic F/A-18C in VFA87 colors, 2014, over Iraq.

 

This kit was not much fun in my opinion - it turned out O.K. but the lazy instructions and mediocre fit at times meant it's remained a struggle.

 

Anyway it turned out not too bad but the kit includes no decals for the missiles that I can find, in contract to the instructions which show decal placement for the missles.

 

So which kind soul can help with which AIM-9X and AIM-7 colors would be suitable for 2014 Hornets?

 

Thanks all,

 

Marc.

 

I'm doing that exact same hornet right now! i'm about ready to start decals. your kit should have come with a sheet for some of the weapons markings, but the one they usually include is for their old F-16 kits and doesn't include AIM-7 markings anyways. i've also had that same kit come without that decal sheet, and no luck getting a replacement from kinetic. 

 

anyways, the stripes on the missiles i think are insignia yellow FS13538 and international brown FS30117. inert ones would have stripes in blue, but i'm not sure if it's a particular FS color. light ghost grey for the bodies on both missiles and white for the tip of the AIM-7s. 

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