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The RCAF's Next Generation Fighter (CF-188 Replacement)

Kirkhill

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This is a bit stale-dated (Oct 2020)

But I found the side by side comparison intriguing as is the suggested "suite of munitions".

The F-35 package, worth $12.5 billion, includes 64 F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing jets, 66 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, and the aircraft’s associated communications and electronic warfare systems. Notably, it contains not only the aircraft’s current logistics system — the troubled Autonomic Logistics Information System — but also its replacement — the Operational Data Integrated Network — which is under development.

Meanwhile, the Super Hornet package — worth an estimated $14.7 billion — includes 50 single-seat F/A-18E jets, eight double-seated F/A-18Fs and 14 EA-18G Growlers, which is the electronic attack variant. The package also includes 166 F414-GE-400 engines for the dual-engine fighter, Sniper targeting pods, AN/APG-79 radars, AN/ALR-67(V)3 electric warfare countermeasures receiving sets, and Next Generation Jammer Midband and advanced electronic attack kits for the EA-18G.

Both offers include a suite of munitions for the aircraft, including 500 Small Diameter Bomb II weapons, 150 AIM-9X missiles, 200 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range weapons, Joint Standoff Weapons, Joint Direct Attack Munition kits that turn dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons, and assorted test and support gear for training and maintenance.

defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/10/09/finland-gets-the-green-light-to-buy-the-f-35-or-super-hornetand-billions-of-dollars-in-weapons/

What really struck home though was this:

66 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines for 64 F35s

166 F414-GE-400 engines 72 F18 variants.

150% more engine maintenance? Is that right?
 

kev994

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This is a bit stale-dated (Oct 2020)

But I found the side by side comparison intriguing as is the suggested "suite of munitions".



defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/10/09/finland-gets-the-green-light-to-buy-the-f-35-or-super-hornetand-billions-of-dollars-in-weapons/

What really struck home though was this:

66 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines for 64 F35s

166 F414-GE-400 engines 72 F18 variants.

150% more engine maintenance? Is that right?
There are 2 engines on each Super Hornet…
 

GR66

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Does anyone know if the CF-18 Super Hornet bid included the conformal fuel tanks that were originally part of the Block III upgrade plan?

I didn't see this article previously, but it was being reported back in January that the USN was looking at dropping the conformal fuel tanks from their Super Hornet upgrade plan due to unspecified issues.

If they were included as part of the bid I wonder how that would affect their scoring in the competition? Obviously having to use drop tanks instead of CFT's would reduce the weapon payload the SH would be able to carry, or reduce the mission radius if the same weapon load were to be carried.
 

kev994

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It kinda sounded like the issue with conformal fuel tanks maybe had to do with the catapult. Would not apply for our use if that is the case.
 

GR66

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It kinda sounded like the issue with conformal fuel tanks maybe had to do with the catapult. Would not apply for our use if that is the case.
The article said it wasn't clear exactly what the issue was but that it was identified during testing in a "carrier environment". That led to speculation that it may have to do with the stresses of catapult launches and arrested landings (If I'm no mistaken don't our Hornets use arrestor cables for landings at some short airfields?). The other possibility mentioned was that the location of the CFTs made certain routine maintenance tasks difficult to perform without removing the tanks, but again the article states "we don't know what the exact issues are".

Also, if the major customer for the upgraded Super Hornets (the USN) is dropping the CFTs is there any guarantee that Boeing will continue to offer them to other, smaller customers?
 

CBH99

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The article said it wasn't clear exactly what the issue was but that it was identified during testing in a "carrier environment". That led to speculation that it may have to do with the stresses of catapult launches and arrested landings (If I'm no mistaken don't our Hornets use arrestor cables for landings at some short airfields?). The other possibility mentioned was that the location of the CFTs made certain routine maintenance tasks difficult to perform without removing the tanks, but again the article states "we don't know what the exact issues are".

Also, if the major customer for the upgraded Super Hornets (the USN) is dropping the CFTs is there any guarantee that Boeing will continue to offer them to other, smaller customers?
Without knowing the exact issues with the CFTs, it’s hard to say if other, smaller countries may even be interested.

If it has to do specifically with a carrier environment, that would lead me to speculate it could be issues with salt water/corrosion, or CATOBAR-assisted takeoffs.

We do use arrestor cable assisted landings at some FOLs, but my understanding is that even then, our Hornets are not dragged to a total stop the same way USN Hornets are on a carrier. As small as some of the FOLs are, they are still more real estate (and less congested real estate at that) than a flat top.

(SupersonicMax, I’d actually love to hear your take on this?)


If the issues with the CFTs are carrier generated, whether it is salt water/corrosion issues or the constant heavy pounding of carrier takeoffs and landings - I don’t see why they couldn’t work on our new Hornets (if that’s the way it goes) or someone else’s.

That being said, perhaps extreme cold weather will present it’s own unique challenges to the CFTs?


(Just off the top of my head, the only jets to use CFT’s on a regular basis are Israeli F-16s & F-15E Strike Eagles for USAF, Israel, Singapore. Not sure if Saudi F-15E’s do, wouldn’t surprise me. Seems a lot of planes are plumbed for, tested for, but not necessarily fitted with…)
 

SupersonicMax

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If carrier suitability is the issue, it could be a number of things. But, in developmental flight test, cat launches and arrestment scenarios are done before going to the boat, normally at Pax River. If I was a betting man, I’d say it is related to maintaining the tanks at sea.

If it has to do with cable arrestments, cables on boats are much, much tighter than on any RCAF base. Limits on equipment are different for land-based vs carrier-based arrestments.
 

OldSolduer

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If carrier suitability is the issue, it could be a number of things. But, in developmental flight test, cat launches and arrestment scenarios are done before going to the boat, normally at Pax River. If I was a betting man, I’d say it is related to maintaining the tanks at sea.

If it has to do with cable arrestments, cables on boats are much, much tighter than on any RCAF base. Limits on equipment are different for land-based vs carrier-based arrestments.
I love watching USN pilots do carrier landings. Entertaining
 

Drallib

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I'm not sure if anyone is familiar with Billie Flynn. I just listened to him on Episode 121 of the Fighter Pilot Podcast "What's up with the F-35?", and in that podcast he made the analogy of 5th Gen vs 4th Gen (or 4.5) to a Smart Phone vs Flip Phone. In that podcast he mentioned his blog on the subject here.
 

SupersonicMax

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I'm not sure if anyone is familiar with Billie Flynn. I just listened to him on Episode 121 of the Fighter Pilot Podcast "What's up with the F-35?", and in that podcast he made the analogy of 5th Gen vs 4th Gen (or 4.5) to a Smart Phone vs Flip Phone. In that podcast he mentioned his blog on the subject here.
Mr Flynn is an extremely competent, experienced, accomplished and credible test pilot. There is no question in my mind. He does, however, have a bias as he was the lead test pilot on the F-35 program. It is important to read his opinion knowing this, the same way I would read Mr Ricardo Traven’s opinion (the former F/A-18 Chief Test Pilot at Boeing).
 

KevinB

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Mr Flynn is an extremely competent, experienced, accomplished and credible test pilot. There is no question in my mind. He does, however, have a bias as he was the lead test pilot on the F-35 program. It is important to read his opinion knowing this, the same way I would read Mr Ricardo Traven’s opinion (the former F/A-18 Chief Test Pilot at Boeing).
However folks who have flown both really tend to give the F-35 props -- not as many as those who have also flown the F-22, and those who have time on the 35/22 says the 22 is a no contest winner (too bad its so $$$ and the fact we refuse to export it even to 5I's countries)
 

dapaterson

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Plus the 22 is no longer in production and us on its way to becoming an orphan fleet...
 

Good2Golf

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Plus the 22 is no longer in production and us on its way to becoming an orphan fleet...
Well…it is already 25 years old and NGAD is in development as a Gen-6 aircraft…
 

KevinB

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Plus the 22 is no longer in production and us on its way to becoming an orphan fleet...
Well…it is already 25 years old and NGAD is in development as a Gen-6 aircraft…
And yet several Allies have even as recently as last year tried to get the line restarted.

Also Orphan fleet in US terms, isn't exactly the same as some other nations ;)
 

SupersonicMax

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However folks who have flown both really tend to give the F-35 props -- not as many as those who have also flown the F-22, and those who have time on the 35/22 says the 22 is a no contest winner (too bad its so $$$ and the fact we refuse to export it even to 5I's countries)
I am not saying whether he is right or not, just that some things he says may be overstated and others understated, given his background.
 
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