Monday, December 17, 2012

F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet (Boeing)

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is an advanced variant of F/A-18(A-D) Hornet. It's commonality with F/A-18 Hornet is less than 40% it's size from Super Hornet. F/A-18E/F enlarged in all dimensions & fitted with 2 extra weapons pylon.

Super Hornet powered by new more powerful GE F-414 engines instead of F-404 which powered Hornet. F/A-18E is a single-seat & F/A-18F dual-seat with reduce range due to re-sizing fuel tank to accommodate second crew.
Super Hornet is a multi-role fighter which able to compete with any 4th generation fighters. Super Hornet relies on next-generation AESA radar, JHMCS (Joint Helmet Mounting Cue System) HMD (helmet-mounted display) system, pilot-friendly controls and software to maintain F/A-18 E/F as air superiority fighters.

In 2003, F/A-18F Super Hornet Block II was build with redesigned forward fuselage & electronic enhancement. Most important upgrade are the new AN/APG-79 AESA radar which can perform simultaneously air and surface detection which offer advanced improvement on reconnaissance, jamming & communication capabilities.
Other modifications including internal IRST to detect infra-red emissions from enemy aircraft, enclosed weapon pods to lower radar signature , full spherical laser & missile warning system, new cockpit based on large touch-screen technology & improved F-414 engine (EDE/EPE) & conformal fuel tanks mounted to boost it's range.

Electronics counter-measures are upgraded by replacing the on-board jamming system AN/ALQ-65 with AN/ALQ-214 IDECM (Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasure) jamming which can integrate with towed decoy (ALE-50/ALE-55) & RFCM (radio-frequency Countermeasure). Countermeasure suites designed for use against radar guided missiles.
Advanced Crew Station (ACS) complete with Advanced Mission Computers & Display (AMC & D) that offer wide screen area & upgrade the mission computers from an assembly language  to an open architecture higher order language.
A fiber channel network switch and digital video map computer round out the ACS improvement. Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) was fitted.

For defensive suites / systems AN/ALR-67v3 Radar Warning Receivers system will alert the pilot about enemy radar targeting at their aircraft & provided accurate identification lethality & azimuth displays of both hostile & friendly emitters. It also controls the electronic warfare data bus & interfaces with EWS, on-board radar, air borne mission computer & weapon system.
DTS (Distributed Targeting System) improve on-board hardware & software processing to produce precise ground targeting solutions.

 Super Hornet also can perform tactical re-fueling role with specially equipped drop tanks that can extend re-fueling hoses. It can act as Aerial Re-fueling Store (ARS) where F/A-18 tanks can act as low capacity hose-and-drogue aerial tankers.

Super Hornet can be equipped with air-to-air missile (AIM-9 (up to X model) ASRAAM) & AIM-120C AMRAAM, air-to-ground/surface (JSOW, JDAM, SLAM-ER, AGM-65 Maverick, AGM-88 HARM (anti-radiation), precision guided bombs (Paveway II/IV).

It added size & weight has hurt the design acceleration compare to others 4th generation fighters aircraft like SU-30MKI, SU-35, MiG-35, Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale & JAS-39 Gripen.

F/A-18F Block II base airframe & equipment with some equipment modified / added for conversion which equipped with jamming pods latter known as EA-18 Growler. It removes 20mm gun in the nose to add with underwing jamming pod, new electronics & mount special electronic warfare pods on the aircraft underwing (AN/ALQ-99) &wingtip pylons (AN/ALQ-218).
EA-18G retains 2 fuselage slots & underwing slots for weapon carriage can be used for extra fuel through wing pylon drop tanks. Weapon loads for EA-18 Growler included AGM-88 HARM/AARGM anti-radar missiles & AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile for air defense. It will replace EA-6B Prowler aircraft.

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