Why is there so little love for the F-18 Super Hornet?

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

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Unread post06 Aug 2007, 07:08

I know I must sound like an idiot for saying this but I've always like the F/A-18 better then the F/A-18F Super Hornet. I don't really know why but Super Hornets just aren;'t my type.

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Lodni_Kranazon

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Unread post07 Aug 2007, 06:53

I always liked our Lot 16's Hornets when I was in Japan. Since I've been here working on both Legacy & Rhinos the Super Bugs have kinda grown on me. :P
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falcon17

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Unread post09 Feb 2012, 07:07

It's sort of funny that I found this thread because I was about to post something like this. Anyway here's my 2 cents, I am a long time hornet fan because it's a reliable and versatile airframe and the superhornet just looks so mean. Now I am an arm chair private for military birds lol (I've only flown a Cessna 172 but I love military birds to death). Now in my opinion I've seen a lot of Hornet hate coming from ace combat fanboys,raptor fanboys and flanker fanboys and the funny part is that most of the hornet haters don't really know much about the plane and seem to like the raptor or flankers "because it looks cool".
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post09 Feb 2012, 14:58

@falcon17 From a purely practical standpoint much of the Rhino "hate" comes from it's relatively low power and high trans/supersonic drag. These result in low top speeds, poor acceleration, poor climb, and poor sustained turning (or high energy bleed during turns) when compared to Air Superiority planes than happen to have some mud moving ability. But really, that's like saying an SUV sucks because a Corvette is faster and corners better and gets better fuel economy. The Super Hornet is not a "Fighter", it is a "Striker". It's job (as designed) was to go blow things up on land or sea and defend itself if needed. No Raptor will even be seen carrying the load of a Super, and I doubt any Flanker will either. Don't let people comparing Corvettes to Tahoes get you down.
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tacf-x

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Unread post09 Feb 2012, 18:25

The reason the Rhino is hated is because of its poor kinematic performance against even its little brother the Hornet. I'm serious, in terms of ACM the Super Hornet is allegedly not quite up to par with the regular hornet. But still, as previously stated, the Navy never wanted the SH to be an air superiority fighter. That was never the goal of the SH anyway. It was meant to be an attack aircraft with secondary air-to-air capability to at least SORT OF compensate for the loss of the A-6 Intruder from the Navy's fleet. It was presented as a low cost, low risk alternative to other expensive programs like the ATA and A/FX, and Congress approved it.

The SH features an increase in range, mission radius and loiter capabilities in the subsonic regime due to more lifting surface placed fitted to it with more internal fuel to carry.

The SH's weak engines result in poor acceleration and poor climb. Also with the high transonic and supersonic drag that ensures the top speed is heavily limited too. From a kinematic standpoint the SH doesn't really bring much to the table.

But again, you wouldn't compare a flanker to an A-6 so why compare a Flanker to the SH?
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falcon17

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Unread post09 Feb 2012, 20:56

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:@falcon17 From a purely practical standpoint much of the Rhino "hate" comes from it's relatively low power and high trans/supersonic drag. These result in low top speeds, poor acceleration, poor climb, and poor sustained turning (or high energy bleed during turns) when compared to Air Superiority planes than happen to have some mud moving ability. But really, that's like saying an SUV sucks because a Corvette is faster and corners better and gets better fuel economy. The Super Hornet is not a "Fighter", it is a "Striker". It's job (as designed) was to go blow things up on land or sea and defend itself if needed. No Raptor will even be seen carrying the load of a Super, and I doubt any Flanker will either. Don't let people comparing Corvettes to Tahoes get you down.


You raise a good point there. And I have a stinging feeling (no pun intended) that some of the anti hornet people compare the plane when it's fully loaded with ground ordinance, to be honest I think a rhino with amraams and sidewinders can easily hold its own against whatever the enemy can throw at it. You can talk about maneuverability and pugachevs cobras all you want, but when the rhino driver has his jhmcs with some AIM-9X's then he just has to look at you rather then point the nose at you.
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Unread post10 Feb 2012, 02:03

Hey INO...you around?? Just sent you a PM!
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Unread post10 Feb 2012, 02:41

The Hornet doesn't have the bomb truck ability of, say, an F-4. That's my only complaint. Other than that, it's a good aircraft with some kinematic disadvantages.
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aaam

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Unread post10 Feb 2012, 04:35

tacf-x wrote:The reason the Rhino is hated is because of its poor kinematic performance against even its little brother the Hornet. I'm serious, in terms of ACM the Super Hornet is allegedly not quite up to par with the regular hornet. But still, as previously stated, the Navy never wanted the SH to be an air superiority fighter. That was never the goal of the SH anyway. It was meant to be an attack aircraft with secondary air-to-air capability to at least SORT OF compensate for the loss of the A-6 Intruder from the Navy's fleet. It was presented as a low cost, low risk alternative to other expensive programs like the ATA and A/FX, and Congress approved it.

The SH features an increase in range, mission radius and loiter capabilities in the subsonic regime due to more lifting surface placed fitted to it with more internal fuel to carry.

The SH's weak engines result in poor acceleration and poor climb. Also with the high transonic and supersonic drag that ensures the top speed is heavily limited too. From a kinematic standpoint the SH doesn't really bring much to the table.

But again, you wouldn't compare a flanker to an A-6 so why compare a Flanker to the SH?



It's not so much the SH is hated as much as it's resented. The reasons for that go back to when it first started. Keep in mind this is an academic discussion, we don't have the keys to the TARDIS to go back and try and change things.

SH was not selected by the Navy, it was imposed on it by DoD. That has to rankle. During its formative times, there was a lot of smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand regarding its justification, capabilities, testing and cost. That didn't go over very well, either, as there were alternative strategies that offered more capability with less R&D money and time (but more O&M cost).

The Hornet/Super Hornet has always been very powerful, and with the SH they pretty much owned NAVAIR, causing less than enthusiasm. A number of programs were canceled/sacrificed in order for the SH to flourish. As time passes, and those involved in said programs fade away this particular aspect will no doubt diminish

SH was not presented as a low cost/low risk alternative to ATA & A/FX. ATA collapsed under its own weight before SH came about. In fact, the rationale for developing SH was that it would be an interim aircraft to address a strike shortfall until the real strike a/c, AX, was fielded. AX became A/FX partly because it was felt that more fighter capability would be needed than USN would have with SH. What happened with Congress, after the controversial birth of SH, was that it stated a few years later that it would fund the development of A/FX or SH but not both. Whether it was because of the power of the Hornet lobby or that saying about, "A bird in the hand...", NAVAIR chose the latter, and so here we are.

The SH's range increased was advertised as being due to reduced drag in the "non-cruise" portion of the flight. It carries larger external tanks than the legacy Hornet, MDD itself showed that those same tanks could be used by the Hornet A-D. It carries significantly more internal fuel than the legacy models, but the main purpose for that is reportedly to compensate for the higher fuel burn of its engines.

With respect, it's unfair to characterize SH's engines as "weak". They produce every bit of thrust that was asked for, and are superb performers, following in the tradition of the J79, F110 and their parent, the F404. Keep in mind that SH's engines put out more thrust than that of the Eurocanards (Yes, Gripen NG uses the F414, but it only has one of them). In fact, Rafale, if the various range/loadout specs are to be believed, meets or exceeds SH's range/payload in a number of areas and is noticeably more agile. Yet the Rafale's M88s don't even put out as much thrust as the legacy Hornet's F404s.

It is correct that SH is primarily a strike aircraft, but saying it shouldn't be compared to a Flanker because we don't compare A-6s to the Flanker is, IMHO, not a valid point. Here's why: When we had A-6s, we also had F-14Ds. Those who have Fencers or Fullbacks (which is a pretty agile machine) also have Flankers for that role. The USN, though, only has SH. So, it has to function as our "Flanker", and since that's the case, the comparison is apt.

IMHO.

Again, this is mostly an academic exercise; it's 2012, not the early 1990s when we had other options, so we need to be looking forward, not back.
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tacf-x

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Unread post10 Feb 2012, 06:01

I'm thinking the massive increase in wing area would also help increase L/D to increase the range.

I called the SH's engines weak because I meant for "weak" to be a relative term. SH is a massive fighter and the engines used to power the SH aren't strong enough to turn it into an F-15 in terms of performance. M88s are weaker but that can be allowed thanks to the Rafale having a lighter loaded weight (assuming similar loadouts).

What I am saying is that compared to the Eurocanards and F-22 it is a bit underpowered for its size. I am not knocking the SH as being crap because it performs its role as expected. It's just that when it comes to being a fighter there are better options (like the F-35).
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aaam

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Unread post10 Feb 2012, 09:22

tacf-x wrote:I'm thinking the massive increase in wing area would also help increase L/D to increase the range.

I called the SH's engines weak because I meant for "weak" to be a relative term. SH is a massive fighter and the engines used to power the SH aren't strong enough to turn it into an F-15 in terms of performance. M88s are weaker but that can be allowed thanks to the Rafale having a lighter loaded weight (assuming similar loadouts).

What I am saying is that compared to the Eurocanards and F-22 it is a bit underpowered for its size. I am not knocking the SH as being crap because it performs its role as expected. It's just that when it comes to being a fighter there are better options (like the F-35).


Those wings increase doesn't really do much for the range. What increase there is (and that's still being debated) is due to the larger external tanks and supposed reduction in drag in the "non-cruise" portion of flight.

The main reason for the F414's increase in thrust was to compensate for the size and weight increase of the SH. One of there reasons USN is not terribly interested in the F414 EPE is that increasing thrust usually increases fuel burn and they really can't afford that on the SH.

One other reason the SH is resented, IMO, is that USN had to give up so much in potential capability relative to what was happening elsewhere. It's not that SH does not do pretty much what was promised. It is NOT a bad plane. It;s just that in the opinion of many it doesn't do enough.
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haavarla

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Unread post11 Feb 2012, 10:00

The enlargen wings on the SH are an important factor of the whole design. It has everything to do with handeling and increased Range.
Try and fly the SH with the same wings that is on the Hornet. :nono:

Otherwise i agree on the Size and weight increase, it makes sense to go through with an F414 upgrade.
It is done with Rafale M88 engines and both the Su-33 AL-31FM1 engines and the Mig-29Ks, RD-33MK engine and the RuNavy will get an even better upgrade, the RD-33MKM engine.
They all beeing sea birdy.
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pushoksti

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Unread post11 Feb 2012, 19:26

Having spoken to a pilot who is type qualified on both the legacy and SH, in his words, he would go to war in a Legacy 99% of the time. The SH is a good bomb truck, but lacks in everything else. It doesn't make a good dog fighter either, with legacy hornets on two jugs outmanoeuvring SH that are similarly equipped quite easily. Flying bricks was used to describe the handling abilities of the SH.
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aaam

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Unread post11 Feb 2012, 21:57

haavarla wrote:The enlargen wings on the SH are an important factor of the whole design. It has everything to do with handeling and increased Range.
Try and fly the SH with the same wings that is on the Hornet. :nono:

Otherwise i agree on the Size and weight increase, it makes sense to go through with an F414 upgrade.
It is done with Rafale M88 engines and both the Su-33 AL-31FM1 engines and the Mig-29Ks, RD-33MK engine and the RuNavy will get an even better upgrade, the RD-33MKM engine.
They all beeing sea birdy.


The wings were enlarged because SH is a heavier plane, and you do need to keep the approach speed down. I'm not sure what is meant by flying the SH with wings from the C/D. A second reason was to allow for an additional station on each wing, which turned out to have problems all its own.
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Unread post13 Feb 2012, 01:40

pushoksti wrote:Having spoken to a pilot who is type qualified on both the legacy and SH, in his words, he would go to war in a Legacy 99% of the time. The SH is a good bomb truck, but lacks in everything else. It doesn't make a good dog fighter either, with legacy hornets on two jugs outmanoeuvring SH that are similarly equipped quite easily. Flying bricks was used to describe the handling abilities of the SH.


I just don't get it...

On the one hand, I hear reports like this about the SH. On the other, I've heard from many pilots (including Viper drivers) that the Super Bug is nothing to take lightly. There seems to be a lot of respect among other pilots, insofar as not getting into a knife fight with a Hornet of any type.

So is it "enough" of a dogfighter, or isn't it? I get the pilot matters, but I'm looking at Syrian late model Mig-29's and the Iranians are no slouches. I understand few, if any pilots beat USN training but things just aren't as clear cut as they were in 1986 when you had Tomcats vs. Mig-23's, etc.

Hey, isn't this thread about...? :) I suppose there are lingering doubts we haven't provided our boys the absolute best. Perhaps I just put my finger on it, LOL...
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