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    F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

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    max steel
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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  max steel on Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:47 pm

    Oxygen deprivation continues to threaten Navy fighter pilots

    The rate of F/A-18 Hornet pilots experiencing loss of oxygen mid-flight is holding steady, despite efforts to improve systems, according to members of the House Armed Services Committee, who grilled top Navy officers on the issue at a hearing Thursday.

    Pilots are experiencing hypoxia events at a rate of 20 to 30 per 100,000 flight hours, a figure that hasn't changed in several years, said Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass.

    "It is, I think, an issue that despite all your investments and policies and training and everything else … the numbers still don’t go down," she said.

    Hypoxia, a deficiency of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body, can prevent pilots from thinking clearly or reacting quickly while flying faster than the speed of sound. They may notice themselves gasping for air or getting light-headed, but its effects may also include lower mental acuity, delayed response time, a degradation of basic motor skills and loss of consciousness.

    The Navy has kept a close eye on the problem since 2009, requiring all incidents to be reported as the service updates cockpit filtration systems and develops technology to monitor oxygen levels in flight.

    "The rates started to climb in 2010. That’s the year that we told everyone, 'OK, we think there’s a problem here,,'" said Rear Adm. Mike Manazir, director of air warfare. "The phenomenon that you’re seeing between 2010 and now is an increase in reporting.

    The Navy has fielded 18 or 19 changes to the aircraft so far, said Rear Adm. Michael Moran, director of the tactical aircraft program office. That includes new filtration systems in about 219 jets, with a goal of adding 40 more each month going forward.

    For pilots and aircrew, hypoxia training has been ramped up to once a year rather than every four years, with dedicated simulation training for pilots every two years.

    "What we do with the trainer now is, you get into a simulated cockpit on the ground, put an oxygen mask on and the system is set up so you can fly and they gradually reduce your oxygen content, and they train us to recognize the symptoms," Manazir said.

    While in flight, the fix is a manual oxygen bottle that a pilot can use to regain enough stability to land the Hornet.

    One of the main issues in tackling the problem is that the aircraft don't have a monitoring system to see what is coming through the cockpit's filter, which cleans out nitrogen, carbon monoxide and other gases or toxins.

    "It’s like chasing a ghost: You can’t figure it out because the monitoring devices that do this are not on the airplane," Manazir said.

    To work on that, researchers at Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, Maryland, are testing whether there are unanticipated contaminants getting to pilots, and if a device could be added to their emergency gear to detect those contaminants while still in the air.

    That system is scheduled to go online in 2017, Moran said.

    Still, Tsongas pressed for another solution.

    "I appreciate Adm. Moran talking about the manual backup oxygen system, but I think we all would be concerned by the fact that you’re asking a potentially incapacitated pilot to help himself out of this," she said.

    The manual tank could have anywhere from minutes to an hour's worth of breathable air if used perfectly, she said, but the pilot could be hours away from the carrier at that point.

    "As you’re looking at creating a budget, an automatic system is something that would give much more time, and he or she would not have to activate it themselves," she said.

    Manazir stressed that the Navy is confident in the F/A-18's systems and pilots' ability to recognize and respond to hypoxia.

    "A physiological event occurs when a pilot feels dizzy, feels confused, feels a little strange in the airplane," he said.

    If there were concerns about the aircraft's safety, he added, the fleet would be grounded.

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    Boeing nears decision to self-fund more F/A-18 fighters

    Post  nemrod on Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:13 am

    Behind this sober news, it hides something that is very shameful in Washington. In fact it proves that the F-22, and the F-35 are a total fiasco. The F-22 could not fly  more than 100 minutes, after, due the fail concept and design it must grounded during weeks, if not months, it is noteworthy to add, because of stealthy constraints, the F-22's coating has several thousands of rivets, special painting, if you change something, U will have to change near all. The maintenance is a nightmare. For that reasons R. Gates ended the production line, and closed them definitely in 2008. Instead of having around 800 F-22 as it was planned previously, US high responsibles reduced them to 180, with a rate of availability that would not exceed 10% at the best case, far from the 60% swaggered by US DoD. The F-35's case is not more shinning, it could not do more than 5% of its tasks. Total failure too. For that reasons US Air Force, and US Navy will still rely on its F-15, F-16, and F-18's fleet during decades yet. Contrary to the US hype, their so called fifth generation fighters 'fleet is a total disaster. We will see in next future more contracts for upgrading F-15, F-16, and F-18. Will the F-35 fly one day ?  

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-boeing-nears-decision-self-fund-more-f-224830041--finance.html


    Exclusive: Boeing nears decision to self-fund more F/A-18 fighters


    Reuters By Andrea Shalal
    February 12, 2016 5:48 PM


    By Andrea Shalal

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co <BA.N> is nearing a decision to invest "a significant amount" to keep a F/A-18E/F fighter jet production line in St. Louis running as it waits for the U.S. government to approve a delayed order by Kuwait for 28 jets, a senior executive said.

    Dan Gillian, who runs Boeing's F/A-18E/F and EA-18G electronic attack jet programs, told Reuters the company would decide in coming weeks whether to buy titanium and other materials needed to start work on the jets, even before the Kuwait deal and potential U.S. Navy orders are finalized.

    He said Boeing would weigh strong expected demand for the warplanes against the risk that the orders could still fail.

    Delays in orders for the jets mean Boeing must decide whether to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the F/A-18 program, even as its commercial division faces job cuts and a federal investigation into whether it properly accounted for two jetliners, the 747 and 787.

    "Based on the demand signals we see today, I’m confident that we’ll be building F/A-18s into the 2020s," said Gillian, who spoke to Reuters on Thursday before news of the accounting probe broke.

    Gillian said Boeing was encouraged by the U.S. Navy's proposed funding to buy two F/A-18E/F Super Hornets in a supplemental war budget and 14 more jets in the fiscal 2018 base budget.

    Boeing has slowed production from three planes a month to two planes, and needs the Kuwait order to be finalized soon to keep production going until the Navy's expected fiscal 2018 orders, Gillian said. Analysts have said the Kuwait order could be worth more than $3 billion to Boeing.

    The U.S. Navy may also add a dozen more F/A-18 fighter jets to its list of "unfunded priorities" in fiscal 2017, a document used by lawmakers to adjust funding in the Pentagon's annual budget request, according to a U.S. official and industry sources who were not authorized to speak publicly.

    Congress approved a similar request last year to help the Navy deal with a shortfall in carrier-based fighter. Lawmakers ultimately added $1.1 billion to the Navy's fiscal 2016 budget to buy five F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and seven EA-18G Growlers.

    Gillian said current Navy orders will keep the St. Louis plant running through June 2018, but the line could continue into the early 2020s if the additional Navy and Kuwait orders are approved. That would put Boeing in a stronger position to compete for potential orders from Finland, Belgium, Spain and Denmark, he said.

    The Kuwait Super Hornet order and a separate Boeing F-15 sale to Qatar have both stalled as the Obama administration negotiates a 10-year agreement with Israel on U.S. military aid.

    U.S. defense officials, including Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, have raised concerns about the slow pace of arms sales approvals, and particularly the Kuwait F/A-18 sale, given the consequences for the industrial base.

    Delays have prompted Qatar to halve its expected purchase of F-15s and pursue a separate deal with France's Dassault Aviation <AVMD.PA> for 24 Rafale fighter jets, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    For its part, Kuwait has said it is sticking to plans to buy both the Boeing planes, and a separate deal for 28 Eurofighter jets. U.S. sources had expected the Boeing deal to win approval last year.

    The fighter planes are of increasing importance to Kuwait, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting insurgents in Yemen, and is primarily supporting that effort with its air force and fleet of existing F/A-18s.

    (Editing by David Gregorio)




    Last edited by nemrod on Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  George1 on Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:17 am

    Can anyone give us the total numbers of F/A-18 and F/A-18E/F that are in service with US Navy and Marines?


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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  nemrod on Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:27 am

    George1 wrote:Can anyone give us the total numbers of F/A-18 and F/A-18E/F that are in service with US Navy and Marines?

    As Wiki -I don't know if it is the truth, but it could give an idea-: 314 F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornets in operation as of 2015, and add "As of October 2008, Boeing had delivered 367 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy", at most 432 EF-18. The total in my view is around 800 F-18 all versions.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_F/A-18_Hornet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_F/A-18E/F_Super_Hornet

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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  max steel on Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:54 pm

    New JSOW variant carries out successful F-18 operational flight test

    Operational testing of Raytheon’s AGM-154 Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) C-1 gliding munition has begun, during which it was deployed from a US Navy Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and achieved a direct hit against a land target.

    The new C-1 variant of the weapon adds the ability to counter moving maritime targets, in addition to land ones, through a seeker modification and the addition of a two-way Link 16 capability. The successful first test will lead on to subsequent sea trials in the coming months.

    During testing the air-to-surface weapon demonstrated the ability to follow a pre-planned route once dropped from 29,000ft, destroying a land target with “precision accuracy”, Raytheon says.

    “JSOW is truly a cutting edge to precision stand-off strike,” Mark Borup, business development for JSOW at Raytheon, tells Flightglobal. “It has a very potent penetration capability.”

    Before the testing, the new variant achieved "seven-for-seven" against land and maritime targets during its developmental and integration phase, Raytheon says.

    The net-enabled 475kg (1,050lb) C1 has a range of 70nm (130km) and a 10min flight time when released from 40,000ft. It will be released to the F/A-18 fleet in 2016, Borup says, at which point it will be operational with the USN.

    Boeing F-15 and Lockheed Martin F-35 integration with the C variant of JSOW is expected to take place in 2017, and with the C-1 variant by 2020. For the F-35, JSOW will be integrated internally on the conventional take-off and landing A and C carrier variant models, and externally on the short take-off and vertical landing B.

    In July 2015, the USN ordered 555 JSOW weapons for $180 million, including 200 units of the C-1 version for itself plus 355 Block III C-models for Saudi Arabia.

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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 02, 2016 12:09 am

    Slow Sales Could Kill America's Deadly F-16 and F/A-18 Jets   tongue

    The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and Boeing’s F/A-18 Hornet both emerged in the late 1970s as lower-cost supplements to the U.S. Air Force’s F-15 Eagle and the Navy’s F-14 Tomcat.

    Over the years, both aircraft have evolved. Boeing’s (then McDonnell Douglas) classic F/A-18A Hornet has been transformed into the larger, more capable F/A-18E/F Super Hornet--which is effectively a completely new airframe. The F-16, meanwhile, has evolved from a lightweight dogfighter into an extremely capable multirole strike fighter. However, both designs are nearing the end of their lives as the new Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter begins to supplant both types on the international fighter market.

    The U.S. Navy is buying some number of additional Super Hornets--a total of 16 spread over the fiscal year 17 and 18 budgets. But exactly how many additional new F/A-18’s it will ultimately buy remains unclear--but eventually the service will only buy new F-35Cs. The U.S. Air Force stopped buying new F-16s years ago in favor of the F-35. That means that both aircraft will have to fight for buyers on the international fighter market to keep their production lines open.

    However, there are few immediate sales prospects--mostly to U.S. allies that Washington won’t sell the F-35 to for the time being. Those nations are mostly in the Middle East or are nations that probably can’t afford the F-35. Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates could be potential prospects. But a Boeing effort to sell new Super Hornets to Kuwait has stalled.

    Lockheed has some recent success with the U.S. government agreeing to sell Pakistan eight more F-16s. The company also hopes to sell the jet to Colombia, Bahrain and Indonesia--but Jakarta seems to have picked the Russian Su-35 over the U.S.-made plane. Meanwhile, a potential deal for thirty additional F-16E/F Block 61 fighters to the UAE is still pending. Until more sales materialize, the company is funding some of its suppliers to keep its subcontractors going.

    However, while small batch orders might keep the production lines open for a few years, longer term survival depends on finding a large buyer. Both Boeing and Lockheed seem to have their eyes set on India. The South Asian giant has an urgent requirement to replace its ageing MiG-21s and other older Soviet-built hardware. There could be a potential to sell more than 126 aircraft to New Delhi.

    India, however, is not content with importing jets--it wants to build the jets domestically. Boeing and Lockheed have indicated a willingness to build the jets in India, but it remains to be seen if New Delhi and the Washington can come to an arrangement.

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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  George1 on Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:38 pm

    Boeing Wins $93Mln Maintenance Order for F/A-18 Hornet Carrier Combat Jets

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160412/1037849252/boeing-carrier-combat-jets-maintenance.html#ixzz45bj1GQ4N


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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  max steel on Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:24 pm

    House panel approves funds for 11 F-35s and 14 F/A-18s


    On 28 April, just days after the developmental aircraft’s many flaws were enumerated at a Senate hearing, the US House Armed Services Committee agreed on a defence policy that would fund 11 more F-35s in fiscal year 2017, on top of the 63 aircraft already requested by the US services.

    Congress, despite many members being vocal critics of the aircraft, has made adding money for F-35s something of an annual tradition, having also added 11 more Lightning IIs than requested in the current fiscal year 2016 defence budget.

    Though US lawmakers decry the concurrent development and production of such a sophisticated and technologically difficult piece of military hardware, they don’t seem at all concerned about bolstering production with extra aircraft.

    The decision to develop and build the JSF aircraft simultaneously was described this week as “acquisition malpractice” and the cause of a “long nightmare”. That's because every one of the approximately 500 aircraft that will be delivered prior to the introduction of the full warfighting Block 3F configuration in 2018, at the end of the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase, will need to be retrofitted at great expense.

    However, Pentagon officials note that the aircraft and propulsion system's fundamental design is stable and the main challenges relate to updatable software and the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which still hasn’t successfully incorporated engine data.

    The Pentagon’s top weapons tester J Michael Gilmore told Congress this week that after fifteen years of development and one year out from the planned start of operational testing in late 2017, the F-35 “remains immature and provides limited combat capability”, although corrections are being made.

    The Defence Department’s acquisition czar Frank Kendall says the “F-35 is no longer a programme that keeps me up at night” and testing is about 90% complete. “I do expect additional discovery, but I will be surprised if a major design problem surfaces at this point,” he says.

    Along with the 11 more F-35s, the House Armed Services panel also authorised funding for 14 more Boeing F/A-18E/Fs for the US Navy. If approved by the full Congress, those extra Super Hornet orders would help keep production in St Louis, Missouri humming at a sustainable level, even if some international orders don’t materialise.


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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  Militarov on Mon May 09, 2016 3:55 am

    "The third time the high-pitched alarm rang "deedle deedle" in the F/A-18F Super Hornet's cockpit, it was clear that something with the air flowing into their regulators had gone horribly wrong.

    "That's when I realize my lips were tingling, my fingers are tingling, and I'm like, 'S---, man, something's wrong,' " a Navy pilot recalled. "And the guy in the back's like, 'Hey, dude! My fingers are blue!' "

    They had just taken off from Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev., when they recognized the blurred judgment and delayed reflexes caused by a lack of oxygen. Suddenly the pilot had to figure out how to land the $65 million jet on a cloudy day, in a rocky stretch of Nevada where mountains peak at 6,000 feet.

    "So the problem is, how low can you go? And you’re doing this hypoxic," recalled the 1,000-hour West Coast-based Hornet pilot, who asked not to be named out of concern over his 10-year career.

    The pilot and naval flight officer were suffering from a lack of oxygen to the body's tissues, a condition known as hypoxia, which causes tingling and numbness leading to confusion and eventually to unconsciousness. Some will lose the capacity to speak, others are disoriented to the point of acting drunk.

    Physiological episodes — including hypoxia and decompression sickness from loss of cockpit air flow — , which are hard to diagnose after the fact, are a confirmed cause in at least 15 naval aviation deaths in the past two decades — and aviators are worried more pilots may die before officials fix the problems.

    Naval Air Systems Command is scrambling to implement fixes, but the brass has underplayed the severity and frequency of the danger since it emerged in a February congressional hearing, according to interviews with pilots and official reports.

    These show a troubling rise in the number of breathing and pressurization problems, and that Navy and Marine F/A-18 Hornet and EA-18G Growler aviators view the problematic On-Board Oxygen Generation System as the fleet's most pressing safety issue 10 times over. Despite these issues, aviation bosses have not grounded the fleet, a common response to aircraft safety issues. The Air Force's F-22 Raptor has suffered from similar problems. After hypoxia concerns arose in 2011, the brass grounded the F-22 fleet for four months. After they resumed flying, two F-22 fliers went on "60 Minutes" to say they wouldn't fly the aircraft until the problems were fixed. In July 2012, the Air Force said it had fixed the faulty valve on the pilot's life support vest that was causing the oxygen deprivation.

    The Air Force also added an automatic backup oxygen system, while the Navy has stuck to its manual procedure.

    In a safety survey of Hornet and EA-18G Growler squadrons early this year, OBOGS was ranked number one of 100 listed problems, with 19 out of 26 reporting squadrons rating their concerns a 10 out of 10.

    Other top concerns included a lack of an oxygen monitor in the aircrew mask, cabin pressure surging and lack of cabin pressure testing equipment — all issues that can result in physiological episodes.

    The air flow issues have bedeviled the Navy and Marine Corps' fleet of F/A-18 Hornets, EA-18G Growlers and T-45C Goshawk trainers, all of which use the OBOGS. In the case of air contamination, there are no warning systems to alert the aviators breathing disorienting and potentially deadly gases. Complicating the assessment of the breadth of the incidents is the general reluctance of pilots to report what seem to be physiological problems, which can remove their flight status.

    Meanwhile, the reported number of events is skyrocketing. Aviators reported 15 physiological episodes in 2009, concentrated in strike aircraft and the trainer jets that aviators learn on, according to Naval Safety Center data.

    By 2015, the fleet reported an eight-fold increase to 115 episodes: 31 in the T-45C Goshawk trainer and 41 in Hornet variants, plus 19 in the EA-18G Growler. The Marines also reported a spike that year, including hypoxia and OBOGS failure in the brand new F-35B joint strike fighters and seven more events involving its legacy Hornets, as the F/A-18 A through D variants are known."


    Rest and source: http://www.navytimes.com/story/military/2016/05/08/nothing-scares-hornet-pilots-more-than-losing-oxygen-and-happens-all-time/82255406/

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    Re: F/A-18, F/A-18EF: News

    Post  max steel on Thu Jul 21, 2016 2:13 pm

    US Navy Wants More F/A-18 Super Hornets (And with Some Serious Upgrades)

    The Navy is aggressively seeking to increase the size of its F/A-18 fleet, extend the current service life of existing aircraft and integrate a series of new technologies to better enable the carrier-launched fighter to track and destroy enemy targets, service officials said.

    F/A-18s are being outfitted with a real-time video sharing technology called Advanced Targeting FLIR; the system uses electro-optical and infrared cameras with powerful laser technology. This addition will help pilots more quickly zero in on and attack targets with a wider and longer-range envelope of engagement.

    “ATFLIR can locate and designate targets day or night at ranges exceeding 40 nautical miles and altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet, outperforming comparable targeting systems. As a powerful net-enabler, it can pass tracking and targeting information to other nodes in the networked battlespace,” a Raytheon statement said.

    An impetus for the effort has several facets, including a previously unanticipated delay in the delivery of the Navy’s F-35C carrier-launched variant of the Joint Strike Fighter – along with the continued operational demands placed on F/A-18s by the need for ongoing attacks against ISIS.

    One immediate move from the Navy involves an initiative to begin formal Service Life Assessment Programs for the F/A-18 earlier than previously scheduled, Navy spokesman Ensign Marc Rockwellpate told Scout Warrior. New Technology for the F/A-18.

    Due to the expectation of extended service mission requirements for the F/A-18 Super Hornets, the Navy has continued to procure and install advanced systems for the aircraft --- such as the Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS), High Order Language Mission Computers, ALR-67v3, ALQ-214v5, Multifunctional Information Distribution System, APG-73 radar enhancements, Advanced Targeting Forward looking Infrared upgrades; and LITENING  (precision targeting and ISR system) for the Marine Corps on select Legacy aircraft.

    “FA-18A-F aircraft will continue to receive capability enhancements to sustain their lethality and Fleet interoperability well into the next decade.  Future avionics upgrades will enable network-centric operations for integrated fire control, situational awareness and transfer of data to command-and-control nodes afloat and ashore,” Rockwellpate said.

    Additional technologies for Super Hornets include Digital Communication System Radio, MIDS - Joint Tactical Radio System, Digital Memory Device, Distributed Targeting System, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and continued advancement of the APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar, officials told Scout Warrior.

    A Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System, or JHMCS, is a technology upgrade which engineers a viewing module proving 20-degree field of view visor.

    JHMCS provides several options for the night module including Night Vision Cueing Display called QuadEye (100-degree by 40-degree field of view) or Aviator Night Vision Imaging System (40-degree field of view), with symbology or video inserted into the night-vision scene, Rockwell Collins information explains.

    “JHMCS incorporates a highly accurate magnetic tracking system, providing the pilot full situational awareness throughout the canopy field-or-regard. JHMCS is in full-rate production and is operational on the F-15, F-16 and F/A-18,” a Rockwell Collins statement said.

    Infrared Search and Track:


    The Navy is integrating 170 F/A-18E/F Block II fighter jets with a next-generation infrared sensor designed to locate air-to-air targets in a high-threat electronic attack environment, service officials said.

    The Infrared Search and Track, or IRST, system will be installed   by operational squadrons flying F-18s, Navy officials said.

    Navy officials have described the IRST system is a passive, long-range sensor that searches for and detects infrared emissions; IRST is designed to simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability, even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology, Navy developers explained.

    The IRST technology was specifically engineered with a mind to the fast-changing electromagnetic warfare environment and the realization that potential future adversaries are far more likely to contest U.S. dominance in these areas.

    IRST also provides the Super Hornet an alternate air-to-air targeting system in a high threat electronic attack environment, developers explained.

    The IRST technology, designed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, is designed to search for heat signals over long distances, providing the aircraft with key targeting information.

    The IRST system —which has been tested on F/A-18s, is passive and therefore harder to detect than some radar technologies which give off radiation, Navy officials said.

    The IRST system is being developed under a $135 million contract awarded in 2011 and is currently planned to be deployed by 2017, a Boeing statement said.

    The technology has been tested on a Boeing King Air Test Aircraft, the statement added.

    F/A-18 Service Life Extension:


    “Since the F/A-18 E/F fleet, on average, has already consumed approximately 46% of its 6,000 flight hour ESL, the Navy elected to initiate the F/A-18E/F SLAP earlier in the Super Hornet's service life. The ongoing F/A-18E/F SLAP effort is analyzing actual usage versus structural tests to determine the feasibility of extending F/A-18E/F ESL beyond 6,000 flight hours; via a follow-on SLEP (Service Life Extension Program),” he added.

    When the F/A-18A and F/A-18C reach 8,000 flight hours, they are sent into the depot for service life extension upgrades with the hope of getting the airframes to 10,000 hours. However, many of the older aircraft are in need of substantial repairs and, at the moment, as many as 54 percent of the Navy’s fleet of older Hornets are not in service.

    “Enhancements and modifications include replacing the center barrel (section) and extending the fatigue life of the Nacelles, ensuring the airframe structures achieve 100% service life. Additional modifications increase the total landing limit and modifications to catapult attachment components can be incorporated to extend total catapults,” Rockwellpate added.

    The Navy’s goal is to achieve as high as 10,000 flight hours, on a select number of Legacy Hornets, to meet current and future operational demand.  To date, 186 High Flight Hour inspections have been successfully completed with 125 inspections currently in-work, he said.

    Navy: More Than 35 Additional Super Hornets Needed:


    As part of a need to better bridge the gap until F-35Cs start arriving, the Navy is looking to add as many as 35 new F/A-18 Super Hornets to the fleet.

    The most recent 2017 budget request includes a Navy request for 21 new Super Hornets to be added through 2021. The service also placed 14 more Super Hornets on the so-called “unfunded requirements” list to Congress as part of an attempt at a further increase.

    Senior Navy leaders have consistently called for the need to add more F/A-18 Super Hornets to the fleet.

    A carrier air wing consists of about 44 strike aircraft made up of two 10-aircraft squadrons and two 12-plane squadrons complemented by several electrical jamming aircraft.  Therefore, the Navy’s stated need for additional squadrons would require the addition of more than 20 new aircraft.

    The current composition of most carrier-based air wings includes 24 Super Hornets and 20 Hornets. The Navy plans to replace the existing Hornets with F-35Cs.The depots cannot keep up with the demand to repair airplanes due to the deployment of F-18s, industry and Navy officials have explained.

    The Navy had been planning for the Super Hornets to serve well into the 2030s, but now service leaders say that timeline will need to extend into the 2040s. The Navy plans to begin buying 20 F-35Cs a year by 2020.

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