Commander Naval Air Forces wants more F/A-18s

Military aircraft - Post cold war aircraft, including for example B-2, Gripen, F-18E/F Super Hornet, Rafale, and Typhoon.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post25 Nov 2020, 03:58

mixelflick wrote:Maybe, but going from a dedicated air superiority platform with great range, speed and load carrying capability to "strike" is always easier than scaling up a lightweight fighter to do the opposite, as the F-16 and legacy Hornet clearly show.



No reason you can't perform both roles. As a matter of fact they have since WWII.......... :wink:
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hornetfinn

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Unread post25 Nov 2020, 09:28

Corsair1963 wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Maybe, but going from a dedicated air superiority platform with great range, speed and load carrying capability to "strike" is always easier than scaling up a lightweight fighter to do the opposite, as the F-16 and legacy Hornet clearly show.



No reason you can't perform both roles. As a matter of fact they have since WWII.......... :wink:


Exactly and I see F-35 as being the epitome of what "Strike Fighter" is. It basically has Strike Eagle payload and range crammed within F-16 dimensions while having F-117 level stealth (or better) and having the best maneuvering qualities of F-16 and Hornet/Super Hornet combined. It might not be quite as fast as clean F-15, but fully armed it has very good speed, about equal or better than almost anything besides F-22 in air-to-air configurations. In air-to-ground configurations it's much faster than pretty much any other operational fighter. Even F-22 can't carry 2,000 lbs class weapons and doesn't have and never will have targeting capability. It would be very costly to modify it to have EOTS type internal system and external pod would totally compromise stealth. Then we get to the incredible networked SA and EW capabilities of F-35. Both help immensely in both air-to-air and air-to-ground and overall survivability. F-16 had very small radar compared to F-15 and was not really designed for BVR combat. F-35 has a radar which is not that much smaller than one in F-22 and is clearly designed for BVR combat. It will carry the same BVR weapons load as F-22 in near future.

Basically my point is that with 5th gen (and beyond) fighters we can't just design a pure air-to-air fighter and then later modify it for multirole Strike Fighter cost-efficiently and effectively. Of course we could design a large multirole fighter with higher speed, supersonic acceleration than F-35 and with supercruise capability. It would not be much better than F-35 in air-to-ground operations and it would be much more expensive.
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Corsair1963

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Unread post25 Nov 2020, 11:19

Your right on the money in my book.......... :cheers:
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madrat

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Unread post25 Nov 2020, 15:16

From WWI through WW2 the engine drove progress. It wasn't the pursuit fighter that got the new shiny engines first. Your attack planes got the performance early on and you exploited the performance gap to take the offensive. When technology caught up, though, you wanted the air superiority as it allowed less powerful attack planes more of a role. As sensors & missiles improve the emphasis on attack plane performance is changing back as the focus.
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mixelflick

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Unread post25 Nov 2020, 17:37

IMO, design specs over the past 30 years have been influenced heavily by the F-15's/US's air superiority success. This, given our complete dominance of the air in both the Iraq and Bosnia conflicts. You can probably add the success of Israeli F-15's to that too. The last "fighter first" design specs were drawn up in the 1980's for the ATF/F-22. Ever since then, we've designed "strike fighters" that supposedly perform both the air to air and air to ground mission equally well. There's mixed evidence for this, IMO.

Compare that to designs post-Vietnam, where we built 2 dedicated air superiority machines (F-14/F-15) AND a dedicated lightweight fighter (F-16). All of these were air to air machines first, air to ground second. And they have utterly dominated the skies in virtually every conflict they've been involved in.

PCA/NGAD will supposedly see a return to emphasizing the air to air mission. Fiscal realities being what they are, we'll probably never hear "Not a pound for air to ground" again. But at least they'll emphasize air superiority first, the way the teen series jets were designed. I hope so, but I'll believe it when I see it...
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XanderCrews

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Unread post03 Dec 2020, 00:25

mixelflick wrote: There's mixed evidence for this, IMO.

I
not really. and of the mixed evidence there is, it probably makes the air to air mission over emphasized. They only brought a handful of pure air to air F-15s to the iraq dance of 2003.

Compare that to designs post-Vietnam, where we built 2 dedicated air superiority machines (F-14/F-15) AND a dedicated lightweight fighter (F-16). All of these were air to air machines first, air to ground second. And they have utterly dominated the skies in virtually every conflict they've been involved in.


the F-14 is not an "air superiority" aircraft. and the USMC was involved in the program at first, which meant bombs:

Image

The F-16 which is so many things, to so many people-- had an air to ground friendly design built into it.


THE MORPHING OF THE F-16

After it was selected as the winner of the competition, the F-16 was turned over to the
Air Force Configuration Control Committee (CCC) for modifications to bring it up to Air
Force combat standards before it went into full-scale production. The leader of the
Committee was long-time fighter pilot General Alton Slay, who was now a four-star
general, having recovered from his disagreements with Ryan and his association with the
Lavelle affair. Slay quickly moved to make the F-16 into the multi-role combat aircraft
the Air Force wanted. Because the Air Force was paying the bills, Slay and his committee
had the enthusiastic help of General Dynamics, who willingly dropped the Critics concept of a simple, austere lightweight air-to-air fighter. The Configuration Control
Committee added roughly two tons of new electronic equipment and other modifications
to the F-16, including more pylons for bombs and electronic countermeasures pods, and
then increased the F-16ís length so it could carry more fuel and enlarged the wing so it
could carry bombs and keep the same performance.25 The F-16ís bombing system was
about five times more accurate than the F-4ís in dropping conventional bombs, which, as
one wag noted, was a good thing since it carried one-third the number of bombs.



And a good thing too or else the USAF would be without a super sonic strike fighter.

You've never seen an F-16 that was air to air only optimized and you never will.

my point is, you can argue all day if there even is a notion of air to air "first" whatever that means and ground second. I don't think you can really design them that way.


PCA/NGAD will supposedly see a return to emphasizing the air to air mission. Fiscal realities being what they are, we'll probably never hear "Not a pound for air to ground" again. But at least they'll emphasize air superiority first, the way the teen series jets were designed. I hope so, but I'll believe it when I see it...


The entire US navy is Strike Fighter Bubbas. You've got a reach to the top of the flag ranks at this point to find F-14 guys (who only flew it when it had bombs). I have no idea how "air to air" the Navy's next fighter will be vs multi role, but what I am saying is institutional inertia which is a blinding force in the USN probably ensures you'll be disappointed. it was those silly Marines and USAF that were fine with the 1000lb bomb capacity of the JSF program, and the US Navy that demanded 2,000 lb bomb capacity. They're just not the air to air obsessed people you hope for. Moreover as I've said many times, the Navy is a ship force with an air force. Not an Air Force with some ships. I know a lot of people obsess over the Naval Aviation and its kind of a wonder to me. Why aren't they pursuing some super fighter!? They don't really seem to want them. They want serviceable fighters that can be bought in bulk affordably to populate the decks of their ships to keep them relevant.

I know a lot of people think theres a huge interservice turf war that rages at all times, and make no mistake there is, but its not as cut throat as it used to be. When the Army started "encroaching" on some traditional USAF helicopter roles, the USAF didn't even put up a fight. The USAF on many occasions has offered the A-10 to the army, the army always refuses. This goes against the narrative that the USAF hates the army, and that the A-10 should just be given to the army. Both services are happy with the status quo. The army really doesn't want to have to pay the bills on hundreds of fixed wing aircraft, as they already have to retire some helicopters like OH-58. the Air force never "hated" the A-10 either. They were more than happy to have it. they threw bombs on it instead of the F-15, it was cheap and they got rid of that Navy A-7 they had to take. The Napeloen complex attributed to the A-10 is meant to stir the pot and take cheap shots.

lastly the Super Hornet is not by any means seen as some kind of disaster in service. Its considered a massive success. So even the perceived NEED for change isn't there with the Navy. They LOVE it.
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marauder2048

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Unread post03 Dec 2020, 00:58

mixelflick wrote: The last "fighter first" design specs were drawn up in the 1980's for the ATF/F-22.


Which actually had its origins in a strike fighter concept to replace the F-111
but the advent of the F-117 and the F-15E (or F-16XL) made the strike aspect less important but
still an integral part of the reqs.
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XanderCrews

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Unread post03 Dec 2020, 01:59

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35_aoa

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Unread post03 Dec 2020, 05:44

XanderCrews wrote:The entire US navy is Strike Fighter Bubbas. You've got a reach to the top of the flag ranks at this point to find F-14 guys (who only flew it when it had bombs).


This is not really true. I know several current O-5's/junior O-6's who had significant flight time in the Tomcat during their JO tours. Granted that was in the early 2000's near the end of the bird (and when it had bombs like you say), but if you are talking about senior flags, those guys were flying it in the 1980's/early 1990's.
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Unread post03 Dec 2020, 05:47

XanderCrews wrote:The entire US navy is Strike Fighter Bubbas. You've got a reach to the top of the flag ranks at this point to find F-14 guys (who only flew it when it had bombs).


This is not really true. I know several current O-5's/junior O-6's who had significant flight time in the Tomcat during their JO tours. Granted that was in the early 2000's near the end of the bird (and when it had bombs like you say), but if you are talking about senior flags, those guys were flying it in the 1980's/early 1990's. Yes, all but the most senior eventually went VFA of course.
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mixelflick

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Unread post05 Dec 2020, 17:41

XanderCrews wrote:Image


The pic of the F-14 flying with bombs... c'mon now. It's clearly a test bird as bombs (mostly LGB's) were only carried later in its career.

How many years did the F-14 fly off Navy decks, with only an air to air mission? For at least a decade...

They added bombs later, when it became apparent the airframe was capable of so much more. And it could carry those weapons a LOT further than the F-18. For the first time in a long time, the carrier's strike reach went up. And then it went down, after they retired the F-14 and were left with the Hornet/Super Hornet.
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Unread post07 Dec 2020, 06:34

mixelflick wrote:
The pic of the F-14 flying with bombs... c'mon now. It's clearly a test bird as bombs (mostly LGB's) were only carried later in its career.

How many years did the F-14 fly off Navy decks, with only an air to air mission? For at least a decade...

They added bombs later, when it became apparent the airframe was capable of so much more. And it could carry those weapons a LOT further than the F-18. For the first time in a long time, the carrier's strike reach went up. And then it went down, after they retired the F-14 and were left with the Hornet/Super Hornet.



Since WWII the US has been turning Fighters (Air Superiority) into Fighter-Bombers (Strike Fighters). Honestly, I don't see that changing anytime soon...........
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