Less competent carrier planes

Discussion in 'Modern' started by renrich, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I believe that the US Navy now has a bunch of expensive bird farms running aound with, in some ways, a much less competent air wing embarked. The attack component is now mainly the Super Hornet with fleet defense also being on the shoulders of the Hornet. The attack capabilities of the FA18 in some ways are not nearly as great as that of the A6 and the Hornet is not nearly as competent as the F14 was at fleet defense. Grumman had a proposal for an upgraded Strike Tomcat which would have had all the electronic and infrared targeting abilities of the Super Hornet, would have had a longer range, greater load carry, much higher performance, 0 WOD capability, could have launched W/O burner and the only advantage the Super Hornet would have had was more stealthy. Plus an upgraded F14D would still be able to deliver the Phoenix and still out perform most enemy A/c. Anyone else share my concern?
     
  2. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Not in the least, Sir. The US Navy is certainly not "expensive bird farms running around with a much less competent air wing embarked." The legacy platforms employed by USN/USMC squadrons are more than capable to eliminate any threat. Furthermore, the first production USMC F-35B is currently under construction, and the Lightning II will be joining the fleet in several years.

    Add into the mix the capabilities of EA-6Bs, soon to be replaced by EA-18Gs, and the radar services provided by E-2s. I honestly think that your post could not be further from the truth. No other naval aviation forces can touch USN/USMC naval aviation.
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Gotta agree with mkloby here, besides he is an expert in the matter since he will soon be done with his training and joining the fleet.
     
  4. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Thank you for your remarks mkloby. Please don't interpret my observations as a criticism of the Navy or Marines. I am a big fan of the US Navy, had two uncles that joined in the 30s and served on CAs as CGMs in WW2 so I was enamored with a career in the Navy and was set to enroll at Annapolis when I flunked the physical(color blind) Would have been there at the same time as McCain and would have probably had a worse record gradewise than he. My concern is that after the failure of the A12 program a political decision was made by the Bush 41 administration to replace the A6 with the Super Hornet in order to keep McDonnell Douglas a viable contractor rather than go with the more capable Strike Tomcat. There was a book written about this entitled(I believe) "The Pentagon Paradox" which goes into this issue. I have the book but it is storage. In addition, I have a friend, a retired Navy Captain, a former carrier CO, a former attack community A4 and A6 driver in Viet Nam who shares my same concerns. Any observations by you which put to rest my concerns are most welcome.
     
  5. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I think if you look into the capabilities of the FA-18 airframe you'll have a change of mind. I felt the same way when the Navy retired my little "Hoover," the S-3. After reading how they are replacing it, especially the ES-3B I think the navy is going in the right direction - wait till the F-35 comes on board!
     
  6. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    I don't know much about the acquisition of the hornet replacing the A-6. However, I think that what spurred interest in smaller, lighter weight fighters such as F-16 and F/A-18 was such Soviet A/C. As far as M-D hurting, were they really hurting that badly after the success of the F-4? Also, I believe that F/A-18s cost about half that of F-14s, and I would suspect are also cheaper to operate. People don't give the Hornet its due credit. The AIM-120 combined with linking is a DEADLY air-air weapon.

    Again, keep in mind that the F-35B/C will be entering fleet trials soon, and acquisitions will follow thereafter. Doesn't that in an of itself allay any fears you might harbor as to the inadequacy of our current legacy airframes?
     
  7. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    Yes, but from what I remember, 1 F-14 could engage the same amount of targets simultaneously as 3 F-18s. Dunno, could be out of date, but that is still pretty amazing.
     
  8. twoeagles

    twoeagles Member

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    My old roomie flew the F-14 and later the F/A-18, and was CO of VF-137.
    He said that as much as he loved the big "Turkey", he would choose the Super Hornet...But also, the F-14 was not easily sustainable, with multiple obsolescance issues and extremely expensive maintenance. There is no threat facing the fleet that the Hornet and its weapons suite can't handle; the F-14 wasn't phased out on a whim, believe me.
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    I knew some F-14 maintainers while in the reserves - they hated them and the scars on their knuckles proved it....
     
  10. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    You gentlemen are making me feel better all the time for I believe the US Navy's ability to project power through carrier aviation is essential to our security. I would hate to think our carriers with each one having some 5000 sailors on board go to sea with anything but the best equipment we can provide for them. In addition I have been concerned since the decision was made in favor of the Super Hornet that people who I voted for would decide about a weapon system on anything but it's merits and what is best for our country. Having said that, it seems that just about the time of that decision M-D had lost out on a big commercial aviation contract and was looking at closing some plants. As you know they are pretty much out of the airliner business now. I am behind on keeping up with military aviation for I do not know about the F35. Is that a sea going F22 or is it the JSF? How does the F18 stack up against a Mig 29 or SU27? Is the difference in performance made up for by ordnance carried? As you know the F14 could engage as many as 6 targets at once with the Phoenix at ranges up to 100 miles. A new manufactured F14 incorporating the latest digital gizmos and state of the art electronics would I believe have reduced the maintenance problems substantially that plagued the Tomcat in it's last years. By the way, my friend who flew the A4 and A6 in Viet Nam flew the A6 when they first evaluated the Intruder versus a captured Mig 21. That was an interesting story.
     
  11. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    On the story about the light weight fighter trend, I believe there was what was called The Light Weight Fighter Mafia in the Air Force. They believed that our fighters had gotten too complicated and bulky with an example being the F4. They wanted the USAF to buy the F20 in bulk. I believe Yeager was a charter member of this group. The F20 was not procured but out of this controversy came the competition between the YF16 and the YF17. The Navy saw possibilities in the YF17 because of the two engines and out of that a/c came the FA18. I wonder if one can call the FA18 a lightweight fighter. For a heavyweight it seems like the F15 has had some success.
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    All I do know is that when the F14 and F15 were being developed for service there was a strong sentiment that only one of them should go into production and be used for both the USN and USAF. Both were very capable aircraft and this process had worked with the F4.

    You have to admit that with the exception of the Phoenix missile, there was some logic to that argument.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Well, the F14 could have probably filled the F15 shoes as an interceptor because of the Phoenix but I think it would have been extremely difficult for the F15 to have been a successful carrier fighter unless it was heavily modified. Remember the F4 was designed from the beginning as a ship board fighter and only later did it become a land based a/c. In fact, it remains to be seen if the F35 will be a successful carrier plane. The F111 was designed from the beginning as a multi purpose "fighter?" to operate off carriers as well as land based. It never made it as a successful carrier plane. McNamara's folly! It seems to me the only time there have been a/c that did well as carrier planes and also suited as land based a/c was when they were purpose built as a carrier design and then transitioned into the land based role. The Navy considered the P51, because of it's long range qualities, as a shipboard fighter but it's slow speed handling qualities were too poor for carrier landings. I doubt they ever got far enough along to find out if the a/c was rugged enough for carrier operations. That was the problem with the Seafire, good performance and beautiful handling but too fragile for carrier landings.
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The F-35 was designed to fulfill 3 missions. The USAF and Navy version won't hover, the Navy version will have STOL capability. It's the Marine version that will have the internal lift fan enabling it to hover but limiting its internal capability.

    "F-35 Variants
    US Air Force
    The Air Force expects that to purchase 1763 F-35s to complement the F-22 Raptor and replace the F-16 as an air-toground strike aircraft. The Air Force variant includes an internal gun, infrared sensors, and laser designator. This is the technologically simplest version of the JSF, in that it does not require hover or aircraft carrier capability. Therefore it does not require the vertical thrust or the handling qualities for catapult launches, augmented control authority at landing approach speeds and strengthened structure to handle arrested landings. At the same time, the Air Force F-35 will have to improve upon the high standards created by the F-16. Since replacement of the F-16 by the F-35 will entail a significant payload reduction, the F-35 faces a very demanding one shot one kill requirement.

    US Navy
    The requirement for carrier operations creates the largest differences between the Air Force and Navy version. The naval version has larger wing and tail control surfaces to enable low-speed approaches to aircraft carriers. Leadingedge flaps and foldable wing tip sections account for this increased wing area. The larger wing area also provides the Navy version with an increased payload capability. To support the stresses of carrier landings and catapult launches, the internal structure of this version is strengthened. In addition, the landing gear has longer stroke and higher load capacity, and of course an arresting hook is added. Compared to the F-18C, the F-35 has twice the range on internal fuel.. The design is also optimized for survivability, which is a key Navy requirement. Like the USAF version, the Navy version will incorporate an internal gun and sensors. This new fighter will be used by the Navy as a first-day-of-war attack fighter in conjunction with the F/A-18 Hornet. The Navy plans to purchase 480 JSF.

    US Marine Corps
    The distinguishing feature of the USMC version of the JSF is its short takeoff/vertical landing capability (STOVL). There will not be an internally mounted machine gun, but an external gun can be fitted. This version requires controllability on all axes while hovering. Another critical design feature is its impact on the ground surface beneath it during hover. The USMC expects their version of the JSF will replace the F/A-18 Hornet and the AV-8 Harrier. The Marine Corps expects to purchase 480 STOVL versions of the F-35."
     
  15. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Flyboy, how do you feel about the "hover" requirement for the Marines in the JSF? Has the Harrier been a competent and cost effective a/c for the US?
     
  16. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    One of my best friends was involved in the electrical design of the X-35 and is now working on the first F-35. The lift fan is revolutionary. I got to see the first conventional flight as well as the first hover and I was thoroughly impressed. According to what some of my friend's work counterparts said in the hover mode, the X-35 was easier to fly than the Harrier and an RAF pilot flew her as well with the same opinion.

    The Harrier served the US Marines well although there was a high attrition rate. The Harrier was/ is a revolutionary aircraft and with any revolutionary aircraft there comes risk. I think the F-35 mitigates that risk by taking the technology first derived in the Harrier to the next level.
     
  17. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    The F/A-18E/F with AESA is being touted as the bridge between F-22/F-35. With sensor integration, look down/shoot down capability with small stealthy platforms and AESA capabilities allowing infiltration, manipulation and subterfuge...how can it miss. Recently the E/F underwent stealth upgrades such as absorbant coatings, intake screens and empenage changes. AIM-120 C-6 and C-7 will allow cruise missile defense in head on situations and high-G terminal maneuvers at 100m ranges. AESA will allow detection at 250nm ranges with narrow beam operation and AEW of even AWACS platforms at about same.

    Compare this to traditional F-15C with 100nm radar ranges! And wait until AIM-120D!

    Don't underestimate the F-18 platform. You will see this bird on the books for the next 20-30 years at least. :)
     
  18. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    Thanks Matt. Nobody seems to give the F/A-18's enough credit. The E/F models are especially potent warbirds. All most people seem to focus on are the sexy maneuvers performed by Russian stunt planes. Aerobatics won't win wars.
     
  19. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Much obliged to all of you well informed gentlemen. Not that it matters but I now feel our carriers are much more capable. "If you want peace you must prepare for war."
     
  20. mkloby

    mkloby Active Member

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    You better freakin believe it. :D No other navy or naval aviation force can mass the sort of firepower as the USN, or even come close.
     
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