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Ace Rimmer
May 26, 2014 1:57 pm

I thought that one thing worth noting was the different jet aircraft types used on the carriers back in the 80’s compared to today, you’ve got F-14’s, A-7 Corsir II’s, A-6 Intruders and EA-6B Prowlers – the missions of which can all be done by the F-18E/F and EF-18G Growler.

Tom
Tom
May 26, 2014 4:06 pm

Comparative Range Figures (from wikipedia):

A-6 – 2,819 nmi
F/A-18E – 1,275 nmi (clean plus two AIM-9s); Ferry range: 1,800 nmi

Observer
Observer
May 26, 2014 4:11 pm

Tom, drop tanks.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
May 26, 2014 4:46 pm

Kate Adie. She really was quite special. ;)

You knew you were in a war zone when Kate tipped up.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 26, 2014 11:58 pm

@….we don’t want to hear the story…those of us of a certain age are already going a funny green colour just considering the possibility that there may be a story…is there an “Envy” emoticon that works on TD?

GNB

tweckyspat
May 27, 2014 8:01 am

Kate Adie…. one of the laundry section at Bugojno (IIRC) stole her knickers out of a medium wash cycle during Op Grapple …. one of the better disciplinary interviews I ever had to conduct…

Much better than charging the prowler guard at Vitez for exchanging jerricans of diesel over the fence in exchange for ‘services’ from grateful locals…

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
May 27, 2014 11:02 am

GNB, don’t know what you are talking about.

I can tell you that she likes Biscuits AB.

Ace Rimmer
May 29, 2014 9:14 am

, true about the range, not everything has changed for the better. But the advantages of the Super Hornet is that it can dogfight, not something easily accomplished in an A-6. Plus I’m sure they’re looking at conformal tanks for the F-18E as well, which should alleviate the problem somewhat.

Gache
Gache
June 14, 2014 11:15 pm

@Ace Rimmer, what’s the G-limit on a loaded F-18E? I’ve never seen a figure for that, but I think the F/A-18C & F-16 were limited to below 5G when hauling bombs. Which unfortunately means any sort of maneuvering platform can potentially make a ‘mission kill’ by forcing the Hornet/Viper to turn and run, or jettison the bomb load to maneuver to defend itself.

It all depends on context of course… the “official” view since the end of the Cold War has been that the US Navy will never face first-class air opposition. In Iraq and the Balkans this held true, Hornets have been able to destroy enemy interceptors at range and proceed to their ground targets.

The problem is if the “enemy” steps up to something with a good enough ranged capability to get close in: if the Super Hornet has to dogfight, the strike mission is likely failed already. Important missions might need an escort :)

Observer
Observer
June 15, 2014 12:04 am

Gache, think the limit has always been the pilot for modern fighters, the structures are much tougher than the pilot, but more than that, blood circulation for humans have always been “designed” for level ground and slow acceleration. You’ll “redout” or “brownout” long before the plane breaks. Wiki the terms, as well as GLOC.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 15, 2014 5:02 am

RE “unfortunately means any sort of maneuvering platform can potentially make a ‘mission kill’ by forcing the Hornet/Viper to turn and run”
– the missiles do the turning (BVR)

That said, I don’t disagree with “Important missions might need an escort”. It is a pity that the B52 upgrade to help to do the same sorts of things at range (ISD was for 2018) has had the funding cut.

Gache
Gache
June 16, 2014 1:08 am

Observer, it’s true that the pilot’s ability to avoid GLOC (or perhaps G-induced loss of effectiveness!) is a big constraint on sustained high-G manoeuvring. The breathing and muscle tension techniques for controlling blood flow under high Gs are a pretty important part of pilot training.

But looking beyond GLOC — modern FLCSs, ie F-16, F/A-18 and more recent, set a G limit to prevent pilots overstressing the airframe. It’s not so much that you could “rip the wings off”, rather, under enough strain an airframe can deform or crack, so G limits are set to protect the life of the airframe and reduce the amount of time spent on stress inspections. :) The FLCS just ‘relaxes’ the control surfaces a bit if the pilot pulls hard enough to try and exceed the G limit.

G limits *are* reduced by the FLCS when carrying a heavy load. For the F-16, the 9G limit on a clean/lightly loaded jet is reduced to approx. 5-6G for a heavy A-G load. The F-18A-G family’s 7.5G limit is similarly reduced. It’s not just about gross weight — it’s the pylons and stores that aren’t rated for high-G. Damaged pylons may not release weapons properly; some stores may pop off altogether! (Yes, really, that’s from real-life Hornet pilots.) You don’t want to reach the target only to find the FLIR pod is missing and the bombs won’t come off the pylons…

I could go on but we don’t need a dissertation on this ;)

Observer
Observer
June 16, 2014 1:19 am

Gache, beyond that point is also the point ACC brought up on BVR combat and escorts. If your “bombers” have to dogfight, your escorts are obviously not doing their job!

Not sure about current tactics but for the old F-14s, there will be 2 escort groups for a “strike package”. The first group is responsible for escorting the package just out of range of enemy ground defences, then they pull back or hang back while the group goes in, then there will be another group of escorts to meet the A-6/A-7s on the way back to “delouse” them.

Military units are that, units. If your plane has to lone ranger, he’s an idiot or suicidal. Work as a team or die as an individual, and if someone goes lone ranger, it’s better if he died early. Harsh I know, but better him alone than when you got others relying on him. Leave the Tom Cruise bullshit for movies along with the infinite ammo full auto fire.

Gache
Gache
June 17, 2014 11:10 pm

Yes, I agree, a strike package should generally get an A-A escort, and where required a 2-ship for SEAD as well.

The problem is there are a lot of politicians and defence analysts, people who really should know better, who see BVR as a “silver bullet” that means multirole fighters really can do it all, can defend themselves at BVR and still prosecute the ground strike. But BVR is… not really like that.

After all, wasn’t “The missiles do the turning,” a pre-Vietnam expression? Reminds me of an old article talking about the USN’s ‘Missileer’ concept:

“The ability to dogfight wasn’t supposed to matter. After all, didn’t the Navy leave the guns off their F-4 Phantoms? They wouldn’t have done that if they thought for a second their pilots would be dgfighting with enemy fighters.”

Of course it didn’t quite work out like that and every US fighter since the F-4 has an internal gun.

Bottom line, BVR is a very complex subject and it really, really depends on what you’re facing. Older jets like in Iraq/Balkans may be OK… Modern, durable and agile platforms like Fulcrum and Flanker would be very tough opponents for any Hornets in BVR, let alone with a bomb load.

So yes, escorts — although it helps if the strike platforms have enough fuel to loiter out of range if the escorts are engaged!

Excuse my digression. ;)

Observer
Observer
June 18, 2014 12:31 am

Gache, you do realise that the final end point of the Missileer concept was the rather successful F-14/AIM-54 mating?

The problem with a simplistic G limit comparison is that it is exactly that, simplistic. There are so many other factors in play that the situation is not simple. BVR is one thing. The other is tactics. Yet another is how often you really pull a 9-G load (e.g cars can hit 180 km/h sometimes. Does that mean you always drive at 180 km/h? If you do, I’d vote you most likely to get into an accident.) And yet another factor is relative performance for all aircraft. Every aircraft in the known world suffers from degraded performance loaded down, hardly only the F-18, so blaming one platform for a universal problem is rather biased. Unless your airforce planes fly around in their own bubble forceshield and use anti-gravity, then the question would be “What are you doing on Earth?”

Singling out a single platform for a universal problem is very odd.

Gache
Gache
June 18, 2014 7:51 pm

Observer, I didn’t mean to single out the F-18 unfairly, it’s an excellent jet at what it’s designed to do. The thread did start with comparing the F-18 and A-6/A-7. I guess I went a bit off topic, so apologies all.