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Author Topic: The Ultimate Hornet vs Tomcat argument!
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posted 12-19-2000 05:01 PM     Profile for Avatar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ol' TWalt is at it again! The best discussion these boards have ever seen occured some time back, replayed here for your viewing pleasure!

PART 1:

Author Topic: F/A-18E/F
TWalt
Member posted March 28, 2000 11:27 AM
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Andy,
Been reading a bit too much negative press on the Super Hornet. How it's too slow or too

expensive or not an F-22 or an adequate A-6E replacement. I believe the Navy got a cost

effective strike fighter (which is all we could afford) that is quite good at any mission

(now or future) and capable of significant growth. We couldn't replace both the F-14D and

A-6E but we needed to perform both their mission with only one airframe. We took a proven

performer in the F-18C/D and gave it a wider mission scope without hurting anything. This

plane performs superbly in AA dogfighting, carries an even larger variety/amount of weapons

farther and will grow with improved radar/9X/probably better engines and tons of internal

bay room. All this for an extremely competitive production cost. What's all the fuss

about?????
IP: Logged

Spoons -
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I'm not Andy, but I thought I'd jump in if no one minds.
The SimHQ guys have now learned to roll their eyes when we talk about this topic

internally...I'm not a huge fan of the Super Hornet. I've read most of the information you

referred to, and I've also had the honor of knowing a person online for about four or five

years who's extremely knowledgable about the development of the E/F. I've asked him to

either stop by himself, or give me permission to post an email he wrote recently on the

AIRCRAFT mailing list outlining his thoughts on the Hornet.

Hopefully I'll hear back from him soon. I think his email makes a pretty good case for why

the plane isn't a good deal for naval aviators, the Navy, us taxpayers, or naval aviation in

general.

Just my $.02. I know others will disagree, but that's why there's more than one flavor of

ice cream.


------------------
John Sponauer

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TWalt
Member posted March 28, 2000 12:32 PM

Hey,
I'd love to read it but what's your personal take? What are the cons that bring your opinion

of this aircraft so far down?
IP: Logged

Spoons -
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I'll mostly wait for Art's comments first, because he can say it much better than I can, but

if you want a summary it's this:
We're putting virtually ALL of our eggs in the basket of an aircraft that basically has lost

competitions to planes that it's since replaced (the Super Hornet was rejected by the USN

for the medium strike role compared to the eventually-cancelled A-6F in the late 1980s). But

my bigger gripe is that the Navy seems to be moving full steam ahead to defining terms like

"deep strike" to be basically whatever the E/F can do...nevermind that it's less than what

they considered acceptable a few years back.

Yes, money is tight and we probably were going to be stuck with a situation like this

regardless, but I can't help think that if money had been spent wisely in the past, we

wouldn't be in the situation where one airframe is now being touted so heavily and tasked to

provide every mission short of COD. The Navy CAN'T let the Hornet "fail," because it's

basically all they have.

------------------
John Sponauer

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TWalt
Member posted March 28, 2000 12:59 PM
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John,
OK so it's a dig at the lack of forsight to fund the proper aircraft programs which really

is not the Navy's fault. Congress has dictacted the budget shortfalls and cutbacks leaving

us with only one choice, a plane that does everything. But my question is, so what's wrong

with the plane? It's only got a handful of shortcomings and most of those are not realistic

threats.

IP: Logged

Andy Bush
PM
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TWalt
Interesting question, and one I'm not qualified to answer.

I understand that the E/F does not maximize every mission type it is intended to fly. But

neither did the F-4. I expect that the USN/USMC will find a way to make the jet 'work' as

they have in the past.

I think these days that there is considerably more in the equation than what was typical of

the past. Smaller budgets, reluctance to risk pilot's lives, political aversion to waging

decisive war, and a lack of a serious threat (at the present) all weigh in to make a 'second

best' option like the E/F seem the way to go.

Let's wait and see what a new political administration may bring to the situation. Remember

the B-1 history...things can and do change.

Spoons...'deep strike' is where Tomahawks go. More accurate, more survivable, and no letters

to write to next of kin.

Andy

IP: Logged

Spoons -
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Art sent me this reply last night to the original post.


(SNIP FROM HERE ON DOWN)


Most defenses of the E/F focus on either comparing it only with the C/D or
using convoluted, unrealistic scenarios to make the E/F look better than it
is. To address the post on the list:


(from TWalt)
>Andy,
> Been reading a bit too much negative press on the Super
>Hornet. How it's too slow or too expensive or not an F-22 or an adequate A-6E
>replacement. I believe the Navy got a cost effective strike fighter (which is
>all we could afford) that is quite good at any mission (now or future)


This is quite a stretch. If so, why are we developing JSF? Note that the
USN did not pick the E/F, DoD mandated it. Now, there's a big lobby whose
careers are tied to it.

(from TWalt)
>and capable of significant growth.

>We couldn't replace both the F-14D and A-6E but we needed to perform both
>their mission with only one airframe.

There was no requirement to replace the F-14D. It was canceled in order to
help create a justification to develop the Hornet E/F. The Navy freely
admitted that the Hornet E/F would not be able to perform the -14D's mission.
Anything the -14D could do that the E/F couldn't was simply declared
"unnecessary". Regarding affordability, using their own (questionable) R&D
figures announced for the E/F, it cost more than 28 times as much to develop
the E/F as it would have to give all-weather strike capability to the -14D (the
E/F, BTW, is not an all-weather strike aircraft, it is an under the weather
strike aircraft). Although the A-6F was properly canceled when it looked like
the A-12 was going to work (hindsight is always 20/20), no one has claimed that
the E/F will be as good a strike aircraft as the -6F would have been. If fact,
what was essentially the E/F was rejected by USN in the mid '80s because it
wasn't competitive with the A-6F.

(from TWalt)
>We took a proven performer in the F-18C/D and gave it a wider mission scope
without hurting anything.

Actually, the Navy acknowledges that the C/D outperforms the E/F in some
areas.


(from TWalt)
>This plane performs superbly in AA dogfighting,

The C/D is better, and the F-14D is at least as good, if not better, than
the E/F in this area. In addition, the -14D has much better sensors, is more
heavily armed, is a two crew (not two pilot) weapons system, performs better in
the multi-bogey/heavy ECM environment and has greater persistence. Keep in
mind the USN has already been stating publicly that its pilots will have to
lower their expectations regarding the E/F.


(from TWalt)
>carries an even larger variety/amount of weapons farther

Only relative to the C/D, not to the -14D or A-6. Note that a C/D
apparently can fly just about as far with the same payload as an E/F if you
hang the larger Canadian Hornet tanks on it. In fact, at low altitude the C/D
already flies farther. E/F's engines burn more fuel than C/D's.

(from TWalt)
>and will grow with improved radar/9X/probably better engines

Let's examine this. Now we're talking about adding both a radar and
engines that aren't even under development. Anything gets better if you put a
better radar and engines in it, including the Hornet C/D (which uses the same
radar as the E/F). 9X can be hung on anything, so that's not a unique feature
of the Hornet

(from TWalt)
>and tons of internal bay room.

Actually, the GAO showed that the C/D has at least 70% of the internal
growth room of the E/F. It's also worthy of note that newer systems tend to be
smaller anyway, lessening the need for more vacant space.

(from TWalt)
>All this for an extremely competitive production cost.

The published figures indicate that the E/F will cost more than any other
comtemporous fighter or strike aircraft except the F-22. This includes JSF.

(from TWalt)
>What's all the fuss about?????

Well lessee, virtually all of Naval Air has been mortgaged to produce this
aircraft. We gave a up a gangs better fighter which was already in production.
we abandoned a far superior strike/fighter program, the A/FX, which could have
replaced the Tomcat and Intruder with one airframe in order to fund and justify
this plane. The E/F was one of the big reasons we lost AAAM, because the E/F
couldn't use that missile to its full capabilities. If you compare the E/F
with Typhoon or Rafale, which enter service in about the same timeframe, you
get quite depressed. JSF will be more stealthy, have better range/payload, be
more agile, have better sensors, be easier and cheaper to operate and maintain
yet (even if they miss their cost goals, which is likely) Will Cost Less. The
question is, why wasn't there More fuss?
------------------------------------------------

He also told me I could basically post that email I was referring to. I'll do that in the

next post.

------------------
John Sponauer

[This message has been edited by Avatar (edited 12-19-2000).]


Posts: 175 | From: | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged
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posted 12-20-2000 10:51 AM     Profile for Avatar   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
PART 2


Spoons - posted March 29, 2000 06:46 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's the original post from art on the AIRCRAFT list that I was referring to.
(SNIP FROM HERE ON)

On 7/19/99 5:12AM, Rich wrote:

> Art,
> I kind of get the impression that you are not a Hornet advocate. The Hornet
> does have some short comings, but it is very reliable and inexpensive.
> Wasn't it the Red Baron who stated "It's not the crate, it's the man in the
> crate, that makes the difference". Wouldn't the Hornet's reliability allow
> it to be ready more often and hence allow pilots to acquire more flight
> hours? Additionally, I work with Hornet pilots and they frequently praise
> the Hornet for its flight characteristics and dog fighting capability. I'm
> curious, what aspect of the Hornet you find unfavorable?
> Rich
>
>


Moi? Not a fan of the Hornet? Whatever would make you think so?

Seriously, no I'm not. Without boring everyone with a lot of what I've
written before, I'll try and just hit some of the key points. First, I should
explain that it's not that the Hornets are bad aircraft, just that we could have
gotten a lot better for our money and that Naval Aviation has been hurt by these
aircraft because so much else has been sacrificed to justify them.

The Hornet is very reliable, partly because of using mid-late '70s technology
when other aircraft were using late '60s-early '70s. Also, keep in mind that in
many cases you don't so much repair a Hornet as replace parts (easily, I'll grant)
and send the broken stuff back to be fixed elsewhere.

The Hornet A/B/C/D was less expensive than the alternatives, but a lot of
that was because it did less and when you're producing 48-60 a year, your fixed
and variable cost per unit is a lot less than that of a plane that's being
produced at a rate of 8-12 a year.

The Hornets A-D are historical fact, and it's kind of pointless for me to go
into great detail here why I think they shouldn't have been built. If you check
the April and August 1981 issues of the Naval Institute Proceedings, you 'll find
something I wrote detailing why I thought it was a bad move. Let me just
illustrate a few key points:

1. Hornet underwent OPEVAL in both the fighter and attack role. In one, the
result was that the aircraft needed substantial work to meet the Navy's needs, and
in the other it was given a down with the recommendations that it be abandoned for
that role. Instead, the direction came down to ignore the OPEVAL results and to
redefine mission to what the Hornet was capable of.

2. If we had not developed the Hornet, the Navy could have solved the F-14A
problems, developed and built the A-7X (a superior attack alternative which
eventually flew as the A-7F) and had $8 billion (~1980 dollars) left over. this
was known at the time.

3. Although aided by the hubris of Grumman and the Tomcat fighter community,
the F-14's air-to-ground capabilities were suppressed in order to justify the
Hornet. The vital re-engining of the Tomcat was also delayed because of all the
money being thrown at the Hornet and because, good dogfighter that the Hornet is,
it isn't substantially better and than a Tomcat with decent engines.

4. Other naval aviation opportunities were lost in order to make th Hornet
essential.

The big heartburn I have now is with the Super Hornet. I am afraid it is
going to end carrier aviation. Here's why:

1. Eight years ago, we had completed development and had sitting on the ramp
a fighter (the F-14D) that was far better than anything expected of the Hornet
E/F, both aerodynamically and electronically. Multiple sensors, a radar that was
essentially couldn't be fully jammed by any known ECM and could search and track
a volume eight times as large as the Super Hornet's, sensor fusion coming up, more
weapons, faster accel/decel. tighter turning, greater range and combat
persistence, better fire control, two crew, etc.

2. For 1/25th of what it cost to develop the Super Hornet (which I'll call
E/F from here on) we could have given the Tomcat all-weather strike capability
equal to and in a couple of cases superior to that of the F-15E. No one claims
that the E/F would have that capability. In fact, it is not capable of all
weather strike. The E/F is not as capable in medium strike as the A-6F that was
(properly with what we knew at the time) canceled over 10 years ago. We know this
because what became the Super Hornet was in competition with the A-6F and was
rejected as not being able to perform the mission.

3. The R&D costs of the E/F have been understated and concealed, in my book.
Here's one example: Some of the promises for the E/F air-to-air and
air-to-ground depend on its electronically scanned antenna. Problem is, that
antenna doesn't exist. It has to be developed for the Hornet. However, E/F
proponents do not include the cost of developing that antenna (and it's a lot)in
the E/F's R&D estimate, saying it's really a "common" antenna for Navy aircraft.
Thing is, no one can identify any aircraft other than the E/F that it's supposed
to go in! Keep in mind that without that antenna, the E/F of 2005 has the same
radar and fire control of the C/D of 1995. There are other examples.

4. Comparisons with other aircraft alternatives have been specious or
downright deceptive. Here are three: 1) When comparing with the Tomcat,
projected figures for the E/F are compared with those of the 1970s F-14A, not the
1990s F-14D (which also, while not matching the Hornet's lower maintenance
requirements, requires much less maintenance than an A). 2) Admiral Mixon was
one of those who widely touted a comparison that showed the E/F could strike a
target farther away than an A-6E or F-14D. Examination of the comparison showed
that the external loads were sub optimal for A-6 and F-14, and were designed
around Hornet. More importantly, A-6 and F-14 were loaded with iron gravity bombs
whereas E/F was configured with long range standoff missiles. The range of the
missiles was added to the E/F's radius to get its "strike distance", but only the
other two aircraft's radius' were counted, 2) A "long range strike" mission for
the E/F is often put forth to show how far the E/F can go. What is not disclosed
is that in order to achieve this range, for every strike E/F, another E/F must
also be launched whose sole purpose is to transfer as much fuel as possible to the
strike E/F. Wanna guess how far a Tomcat could go if there are tankers around?

5. Other claims are let's say, "creative". Much is made of the fact that
the E/F has two more wing stations it can use to carry more standoff weapons
relative to the C/D. What's left out, according to GAO and others, is that while
the E/F can carry those weapons on those stations, because of clearance
limitations, it can't actually fire them from those inner stations. Small detail.

(NOTE FROM SPOONS: This post caused some debate, as you may imagine. This point above was questioned by someone who said that they COULD fire missiles. I asked Art yesterday if there was ever any agreement reached about who was right. His reply: "It can carry them, it just can't fire them from there. The confusion came
from which stations were the "new" ones.")


6. It's becoming apparent that if you hang the 450 gal fuel tanks on a C/D,
it goes just about as far as an E/F.

7. It also seems that the Navy's missions are being redefined to, "Whatever
the E/F can do".

8. Much of naval aviation is being sacrificed to preserve the E/F. The
F-14D went. The rewinging/upgrade of the A-6 was canceled and the plane
prematurely retired in order to pay for/help justify the E/F. The A/FX, which was
really the future for naval aviation, was first postponed and then abandoned to
help pay for and create a need for the E/F. AIM-120 capability for the F-14
probably won't happen because of the E/F.

9. Based on performance in Iraq and in Yugoslavia, it's arguable that
LANTIRN -equipped F-14s are better platforms for PGMs than the Hornet.

10. At the same time that the Hornet is driving the need for tanker
capability up (the C/D uses three times the fuel of the A-7 and the E/F uses
more), going to an all-Hornet deck reduces tanking assets. The A-6E could have
been retained as a tanker. If it had, it would have been far better than any
alternative (and wouldn't have required rewinging). However, no one wanted any
kind of A-6 around (except the Prowler) to remind people of what was lost.

11. Tactical recon is suffering because in 16 years, they've been unable to
turn the Hornet into a worthwhile recon bird. TARPS capability has been held
back over the years because the Hornet was the "designated wonderplane". I don't
think this is even being addressed with the E/F.

12. It looks like the Hornet E/F will be placed into service no matter how
testing turns out. Navy has already acknowledged that in a number of areas it's a
step backward relative to the C/D.

13. I'm afraid JSF will be the next thing sacrificed on the altar of the E/F.

14. Go look at what happened in the most recent Hornet/MiG-29 fights in
Germany (now that the Germans have optimized their Fulcrum tactics).

15. Look at the specs, capabilities and costs of Eurofighter and Rafale.
Then look at the same things for the E/F. Then shake you head and go have a
drink. You'll need it. If this is the best we can do, do we really need carrier
aviation?


Art "Where's the Raid when We Need it?" Hanley


------------------
John Sponauer


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TWalt
Member posted March 29, 2000 09:13 AM
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That's some good stuff but unfortunately it's not very accurate. Where do I start, let's see:
1. The F-14D. The Navy did like this aircraft and pushed hard to keep it on our decks well before the E/F was ever dreamed up. Unfortunately, Congress didn't agree with it's large costs both initial and maintenance. It died not because the E/F took away it's funding but because we couldn't afford it! Yes it is superior but let's see, how many Phoenix kills have we racked up since it's inception. It's a cold war weapon! Yes it's got a great radar but with the hawkeye and Aegis platforms, we can see sufficiently without it's added cost. Let's all face it, we love this aircraft but its over. It was killed by other programs that never came to fruition (ATX/navalized ATF) and it's high operational costs. I agree that we should have kept instead of gambling with those technologies.

2. 1/25 the cost of E/F to give the F-14D strike capablity. Sure but we don't have enough F-14D for the whole fleet. The production line is shut down so when you add in reopening the line, costs of new F-14D and their higher operational costs, nope your short, way short and congress killed this bird once due to its high costs. Think we can get them to change their minds???

3. The antenna thing is pure baloney! The funding just wasn't there to put it in right away. It will be incorporated in mid-production and it will be a major improvement. Work on the similar F-22 radar will keep R+D down along with costs. This antenna was at one point to retrofit existing C/D's but got pushed back due to budget and technology problems.

4. I'll agree with you here about the mythical performance of the E/F. The Navy was a little too eager to hide the deficiencies and blur what they had given up with a multi-plane deck. But this decision was already made. Whether it was wrong or right can be debated but not the economics. There was just not enough money to fund more than one platform sufficiently. The E/F does provide very respectable strike capabilites compared to any fighter in range and payload. It doesn't have the 14's range but it does deliver a wider variety and competes well with Rafale and Typhoon.

5. Again baloney. The wing stations weren't cleared with certain weapons during testing to ensure safety. As it enters the fleet, the full weapons carriage capability is astonishing. This includes assymetric loadings that truly make this plane versatile beyond anything including the much vaunted A-6E/F-14D.

6. C/D's don't cary 450 gal for one big reason. They can't land with them on carriers. Also, when carrying any tanks, the C/D is left with 2 hardpoints so the E/F effectively doubles the striking power. This is very important when considering operational costs and efficiencies. That's half the planes doing the same mission, going farther with better self protection (ECM).

7. I say baloney again. The missions were there before the E/F was even conceived. The C/D didn't do them very well but it did them all(Range limited). The F-14B/D is a PGM delivery platform for precision/long range strike and a superb long range air superiority fighter but isn't very versatile. Yes we should have made it such but that's already been discussed above. This leaves us with a big hole in between and the E/F fills it nicely. Sure we'll lose that long range strike but the E/F can do it at a cost of self-tanking. Also, most of our missions have not required the 14's range, it was a great capability but the C/D still performed well in our latest incidents and the E/F will offer a substantially greater capability than the C/D.

8. Baloney. The E/F wasn't even conceived during the AFX nightmare. Yes AFX would have given the Navy a stealty, long range A-6 replacement but it was not affordable or technologically feasable or both. Same deal on the 14D. It just costs too much to operate it.

9. Yes the 14 can outperform C/D due to range/better FLIR/slightly better payload/speed. The E/F has a totally new FLIR that is superior to LANTIRN, carries a similar PGM payload but does lack range and speed although it too is superior to the C/D in range. So we sacrifice speed and some range but get lower operational costs. Money is king nowadays.

10. What's this??
"At the same time that the Hornet is driving the need for tanker
capability up (the C/D uses three times the fuel of the A-7 and the E/F uses
more), going to an all-Hornet deck reduces tanking assets. "
Since when does the E/F use more tanking than the C/D. The E/F has more range with that fuel so no, wrong the E/F uses significantly less tanking and even has the ability to tank itself, allowing the Navy to reduce its tanking inventory, not increase it. If tanking is required, self-tanking allows a much more efficient attack profile as well.

11. Tactical recon has never been a hornet priority because, hello!!, we have the best recon asset in the TARPS F-14. Yes there is a recon system for the F-18 C/D and that will eventually replace the TARPS. When we replace C/D with JSF, then we will require a new recon asset which I assume will be a JSF project as it is stealthier than the E/F. So what is your point here?

12. Yes the E/F is slightly and I mean slightly less capable in certain very specific aspects to the C/D but it is negligible. As far as any specific MISSION, the E/F is better. AA or AG the E/F can do either mission better. As a dogfigher it is very close to the C/D, better in most aspects and slightly inferior a few others. Power is a bit of a problem but I think just like the F-18A, we will see engine modifications that rectify this. By the way the 9X cannot be thrown on any aircraft. It is a system dependent weapon that would have to be added to both the C/D and 14 at significant cost so don't ever say the 9X is not a major benefit of the E/F.

13. What does the E/F have to do with the JSF? The JSF is a scheduled replacement of the C/D. If production slips, and it probably will, increased E/F production will fill the gap so that we have something capable to fly. If anything, the E/F will push the JSF to maintain its requirements so they don't slip into the E/F range. Why buy JSF if it isn't a significant addition to the airwing? I think it will be a solid aircraft but who knows.

14. Oh another press story about an exercise. OK this really ticks me off. Exercises are just that. They have incredible restrictions that usually favor the host, especially foreign hosts and do not normally allow us to utilize our superior tactics and C4 (E-2C, Aegis, even AIM-120). So yeah, in a limited exercise the MIG-29 could probably give our C/D a real problem but even then, we do pretty well. It's all about saving face when you read a press report about an exercise. Israel recently pulled a good one too but when you look at the facts, once our pilots acclimated to the lop-sided rules we gave em a 1 to 1 ratio against an aircraft that is superior to the MIG-29 with better pilots. So yeah, believe what you want but even the C/D is a match for the 29. The E/F will fare just as well and the 9X will totally change the situation.

15. Lets see, Eurofigher costs $60 million a pop, can't land on carriers and offers slightly lower payloads with slightly better range. That's not even close. The carrier capability alone makes the designs hard to compare. It's a better fighter but not a better strike platform. The Rafale M is a great strike fighter but it lacks the payload of the E/F by about 5,000 lbs. Again, a better fighter but not as versatile in strike. It's more like a C/D with enhanced engines, range and maneuverability. It will deliver that smaller payload faster but not farther. It has speed though and it is superior in AA roles so I do think the E/F made a cost conscience choice which limited performance. Yes the E/F can't outrun either of these or out turn them but neither can any other plane excepting the F-22. Could we have made the E/F a better fighter, heck yeah, but at what cost? To get what we have was expensive but it was on budget and on time and does give the Navy a significant improvement to our air wings. How many dogfights have their been since Vietnam?? How many of those were with guns??

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Spoons - posted March 29, 2000 12:06 PM
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Looks like we have a debate here!
You asked my thoughts yesterday. I think Art (and you) make many good points.

I guess (for me at least) the rub is after all this money and time we have a plane with a lot of astericks next to it.


- Flies further than the C/D *
* But not as far or as fast or with as much load as the alternatives could have

- Can carry more high-tech weapons than the other planes *
* Just don't ask it to carry iron the way an A-6 could

- Carries a new Sidewinder *
* But still may or may not be better than the C/D in a close in fight without it

- Is better than the C/D at ATA or Fleet Defense *
* But the big ATA stick it carries still can't touch what the -14 could, nor can its radar/antenna

- Needs less tanking *
* As long as there's enough E/Fs to go around and you can devote some of them to buddy-tank when you really need to go beyond the beach.

- Proved its worth and value on paper to justify production *
* With some creative math


I don't know...basically saying that the Hornet did well enough in recent conflicts* is tricky to me.

* But drew a lot of CENTAF tanking assets in the Gulf for its daylight bombing and which, during Bosnia, required a carrier to move in closer to shore.

Our next opponent, while probably not equal to the Soviets of the 1980s, may indeed have first-class fighters and may indeed pose a very real threat to a carrier group. I question whether the E/F is up for what it could be asked to do.

All the bickering aside, if I were, say, India, and was preparing to take on the USN in a regional fight, I'd be a hell of a lot more afraid of F-14Ds and theoretical A-6Fs than I'd be of a swarm of Hornets, "Super" or not. Yes, the Phoenix is a "Cold War" weapon, but so is 90% of the US inventory...you still have to honor the threat that it can bop you in the nose from 100 miles out. Yes, the need for "deep strike" may be better handled by Tomahawks or whatever, but isn't it better to have an Ace up your sleeve like a theoretical A-6F instead of buddy-tanking your Hornets all the way to target or parking your carrier in the Ganges River so your Hornets have enough range?

I just think we made many bad decisions to get us to this point where everything rides on the E/F, and regardless of whether it's useful to argue about those past mistakes or not, I just can't bring it in me to be EXCITED about the E/F. IMHO, it's too little improvement for too much money.

I think it is at best the lesser of the evils. We could have done much better for naval aviators, and we should have at several points going back to the 1970s.


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John Sponauer

[This message has been edited by Avatar (edited 12-20-2000).]


Posts: 175 | From: | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged

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