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F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet/Advanced Super Hornet (updates); News & updates
Topic Started: Aug 5 2005, 10:37 PM (23,771 Views)
saver111
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Report exposes warplane's brake dangers

'A severe hazard to Naval aviation'

Friday, August 5, 2005; Posted: 8:23 a.m. EDT (12:23 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The front-line fighter jet of the Navy and Marines has suffered a series of recent accidents blamed on brake failure, exposing a problem that has spurred urgent warnings from commanders, military documents obtained by The Associated Press show.

Brake problems affecting the F/A-18 Hornet pose "a severe hazard to Naval aviation" that could kill pilots and ruin valuable aircraft, a Navy air wing commander wrote last year after one of his jets roared off a runway and splashed into San Diego Bay, destroying the $30 million plane.

Many of the brake failures have been traced to a $535 electrical cable -- about as thin as a drinking straw -- that controls the jet's antiskid brakes, the equivalent of antilock brakes on a passenger car. Investigators say the cable can chafe or break, since it runs close to where heavy tie-down chains secure the jets to a carrier deck.

In the San Diego crash, Navy investigators cited "a trend of similar, if not identical, emergencies" that date to 1990 but went unnoticed until a series of failures last year, according to records the AP obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

One Navy pilot aborted a landing last fall when his brakes failed after a combat mission over Iraq. He took off again, circled the runway in Kuwait for a second landing attempt, then lowered his tailhook and caught the emergency arresting cable on the ground. He was not hurt and there was no damage to the jet.

A month earlier, a Marine commander was seriously injured when he ejected after he lost his brakes landing on a short runway at Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia. Other failures have occurred as recently as February.

Making matters worse, some pilots did not know the proper procedures for brake emergencies and took actions that contributed to crashes, the records show.

The Navy ordered fleetwide inspections last fall and is continuing to investigate whether it needs to redesign the Hornet's brakes, as some commanders have urged. "This matter is by no means closed," said Navy spokesman James Darcy.

The maker of the jet, Boeing Co., deferred comment to the Navy.

The U.S. military owns 561 Hornets, including those flown by the elite Blue Angels aerobatic team. Collectively, they represent a mainstay of Navy and Marine aviation, operating from both aircraft carriers and runways. They drop bombs and dogfight, and flew more than 50,000 sorties during the height of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Investigators have concluded that cockpit procedures were confusing for Hornet pilots landing with brake failures.

Lt. Jason Walker, low on fuel, was landing in San Diego at night after two unsuccessful landing attempts aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. The jet's brakes failed one second after touchdown, and, among other problems, Walker couldn't find the cockpit controls to engage emergency backup brakes. He ejected as the jet sped off the runway and into the bay at 60 mph. The Navy determined Walker shouldn't be disciplined.

"He stood on the brakes as much as possible but the aircraft was still not slowing," investigators wrote, concluding his brake cable severed.

The Navy last fall ordered fleetwide inspections of brake components, instructed mechanics to immediately replace any cables they previously had repaired and reminded pilots about procedures to help land safely even when antiskid brakes fail.

But fresh problems have surfaced.

At AP's request, the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, Virginia, located about two-dozen formal reports describing failures of the Hornet's antiskid brakes since 1990.

The incidents caused the loss of one jet, damage of at least $1 million to another, damage of up to $200,000 on three additional jets, one serious injury and one other overnight hospital stay.

Officials acknowledge that their tally of formal reports probably understates the number of brake failures. One report filed in January referred to 14 Hornet brake failures and tire blowouts in a single squadron during 2004 alone.

"This trend of brake failures and blown tires cannot be ignored," Marine Col. Earl S. Wederbrook wrote to senior Navy and Marine officials after one of his jets spun backward on a runway from a blown tire in California. "Short of an aircraft system fix ... the pilot is the only control measure that can mitigate this hazard."

The Navy told the AP the antiskid brakes are safe and reliable, and that pilots should be able to land safely despite problems if they follow proper emergency procedures. It also said the sporadic brake failures must be viewed in light of the jets' roughly 6 million landings since the 1980s.

"There has never been a landing mishap to date where procedures were followed correctly," said Capt. Jeffrey Penfield, a Navy pilot for 17 years who is deputy program manager for F/A-18 system development in Patuxent River, Maryland.

The Navy also told the AP that based on its investigation so far, redesigning the brake system is unwarranted and would require lengthy and costly new safety reviews.

"It's been highly reliable," said Capt. Tom Huff, the executive officer at the Navy's Test Pilot School. "We don't want to venture too far from what we know works. We just know that wire is vulnerable in that location, and we've done some engineering changes to preclude damage to that wire."

Some commanders urged the Navy to do more.

"Ultimately, the wiring harness needs to be protected or redesigned," Cmdr. John R. "J.D." Dixon wrote to senior Navy officials after brakes failed in February on a Hornet speeding 115 mph down a runway at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California's San Joaquin Valley.

The jet blew two tires when the pilot activated emergency backup brakes. The incident happened months after the Navy's new mandatory inspections and training, and mechanics traced the problem to the same brake cable. The same problem was discovered later on another jet in the same squadron.

After last year's accident in San Diego, Naval air-wing commander M.C. Geron also wrote to the chief of naval operations to urge the service to improve the brake system. Failure to fix the problem "could lead to loss of use of the antiskid system, loss of normal brakes and potential loss of aircraft and life," Geron warned.

Pilots landing on shore are instructed to turn on the antiskid brakes, but pilots leave them switched off for carrier landings.

Investigators in the San Diego and Quantico accidents determined pilots didn't follow procedures when the brake system failed. Investigators and documents also said the Navy's instructions and computerized simulators do not train pilots adequately for brake hazards.

"The brake problem and loss-of-directional-control-on-ground emergency procedures are confusing," wrote investigators in the San Diego accident.

Days after the crash in San Diego harbor, the Navy used a heavy crane to hoist the destroyed jet out of the sea. The call sign "Lucky" was stenciled outside Walker's waterlogged cockpit.
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israeli
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Washington Offers F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to Bulgaria
milavia.net
April 7, 2006


The US Government has officially offered the purchase of new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter aircraft to the Republic of Bulgaria, this being the first time that Washington has offered this fighter abroad. The US proposal that contains three possible options for supply of Bulgarian armed forces with F/A-18E/F was sent by Washington in early March 2006 and is in fact response to a request for price and availability information received from Sofia in June 2005 for 16 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets fighters.

In addition to the Super Hornets, Bulgarian Ministry of Defence also requested price and availability information for 12 used F-5 jet fighters that were seen as the most suitable solutions for familiarization of Bulgarian Air Force personnel for use of Western-made fighter jet technology.

According to US Navy Commander Andrew Hartigan, the first supply option is tailored to the number and type of aircraft mentioned in the Bulgarian letter of request. The second option envisages the supply of 12 US Navy used F/A-18E/Fs and as many used F-5s. The third option features no F-5s. Although, Commander Hartigan refused to reveal the price at which the fighter jets are being marketed to the Bulgarian side, the unofficial sources quote the price of a brand-new unarmed F/A-18E/F fighter at around USD54 millions.

If Bulgaria accepts the recent offer from Washington, it will become the second country after the US using this type of aircraft. The US offer envisages contract signature in 2007 with the first delivery as soon as 2009. Boeing did not reveal prices for the offer as these are the subject of negotiations between the US and the Bulgarian government. However, it is known that the company is ready to offer an offset programme.

In accordance with the 2004 defence modernization plan, Bulgaria recently signed a USD48 million contract with Russian RSK-MiG for overhaul, service life extension and limited modernization of 16 MiG-29 (14 MiG-29A Product 9.12A and four MiG-29UB) fighters. The same plan, however, features the purchase of 18 new fighters. According to the latest public statements by the Bulgarian Minister of Defence, Veselin Bliznakov, the tender for purchase of new Western-made fighters will be announced in two or three years. Already interested to participate in this tender are Lockheed Martin with F-16C/D Block 52+ Fighting Falcon and Saab with an offer for JAS 39 Gripen. The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence predicted the cost of the project for supply of new fighters to reach around USD1 billion.
"I'm very determined. If I decide what something is worth doing, then I'll put my heart and soul to it. The whole ground can be against me, but if I know it is right, I'll do it. That's the business of a leader." - Lee Kuan Yew
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edwin
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http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/2005/1...aches/index.php


India Investigating F/A-18 Super Hornet AESA Radars

F/A-18E Super HornetDID has reported on India's deepening relationship with the USA before, and on its multi-billion lightweight fighter competition that recently added US fighters like the F-16 to the platforms under consideration.

It would appear that one can also add the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the list of aircraft under serious consideration by India - and the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter as well.
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jammerjamesky
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I do hope that the F-18 Tech Data will materialize also in our country.
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edwin
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http://www.deagel.com/news2/index.aspx?p=ns000247dp

Super Hornet Demonstrates Network Multi-Targeting Capability

Boeing has successfully demonstrated the capability of an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to provide targeting coordinates to other aircraft using the Raytheon APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system.

During the test at the Naval Air Weapons Center at China Lake, California, an AESA-equipped F/A-18F created a long-range, high resolution synthetic aperture radar map and designated four closely-spaced stationary targets. The aircraft then data-linked two target designations to non-AESA equipped Super Hornets, which successfully delivered four 2,000-lb. Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM). All four weapons impacted the targets within lethal distance. The targeting Super Hornet then used the AESA to provide highly detailed bomb damage assessments to confirm the hits.

This demonstration demonstrated some of the capabilities of the Block II Super Hornet we have been talking about. This is just one element of the tremendous networking potential of the Block II Super Hornet for US warfighters.

The AESA radar provides the warfighter with higher resolution at much longer ranges than traditional, mechanically scanned arrays. This information enables other aircraft crews to more precisely target weapons for greater accuracy. Additional demonstrations of the Super Hornet's future precision engagement capabilities are planned as part of tests leading to the program's Operational Evaluation later this year.

This network targeting demonstration using the APG-79 AESA radar truly showed the force multiplier capacity of an AESA-equipped Super Hornet. This is the first time that target coordinates were generated by one F/A-18 aircraft and passed via data link to other F/A-18 aircraft. Close teamwork among the Navy, Boeing and Raytheon continues to produce superior warfighting capabilities such as this.

AESA :: Active Electronically Scanned Array
JDAM :: Joint Direct Attack Munition

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edwin
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http://www.flightglobal.com/Articles/2006/...s+to+India.html

Boeing optimistic on Super Hornet sales to India

A burgeoning relationship between India and the USA is improving Boeing’s optimism about selling its F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to New Delhi as a replacement for its MiG-21 fleet.

Traditionally, India has looked to Russia or France for major purchases of military aircraft. However, as Mark Kronenberg, vice-president Asia-Pacific for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems business development said at the show yesterday, the growing links between the two nations’ armed forces “has really opened up some doors for us that weren’t there two years ago.
“One of the US defence attachés back in the 1990s said that the biggest thing he had to do was co-ordinate the schedules of the two countries’ military bands. From that, they’ve gone to participating in 30 major exercises [with the US] in the past two years.”

Kronenberg puts this down to several factors, including growing awareness of the need to protect Indian Ocean sea lanes and the considerable co-operation between the two nations’ armed forces in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami.

Elsewhere in the region, Boeing has supplied Super Hornet pricing information to Malaysia and discussions have been held “from time to time”, but Boeing is basically awaiting Malaysia to respond on pricing and offset matters. Thailand, which ordered earlier versions of the Hornet in the 1990s, only to cancel the order in the 1997 Asian financial crisis, remains a more distant prospect: “We may use the show to see what sort of interest there is in that.”

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edwin
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Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet Engages Moving Targets with JDAM

Boeing [NYSE: BA] successfully demonstrated the capability of a single F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to engage moving land targets during a test at Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif.

"This is just another step in our efforts to develop an all-weather multiple moving target engagement capability for the Super Hornet," said Chris Chadwick, Boeing vice president for F/A-18 programs. "We plan to expand on this effort, to meet the goals of precision multiple moving target engagement envisioned in Sea Power 21."

Real-time targeting updates were accomplished using the aircraft's existing Digital Communications System (DCS) to communicate over a standard military link to a 2,000-lb. Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) equipped with a UHF weapon data link module. The weapon data link module included a miniature radio transceiver that transmitted link status back to the aircraft during weapon free-fall.

In the guided release demonstration, the position of the moving target, a radio-controlled panel-side truck, was continuously tracked by the Advanced Targeting Forward-Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) sensor onboard the Super Hornet. Periodic target updates were provided to the JDAM throughout the weapon's flight to the target. As a result, the F/A-18 weapon system successfully guided the inert bomb to within two meters of the moving target

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/2005/q3/nr_050725m.html

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saver111
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Blue Angel Jet Crashes at Beaufort Air Show
Story Number: NNS070421-12
Release Date: 4/21/2007 7:51:00 PM

From Navy Office of Information

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PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- An F/A-18A Hornet assigned to the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) crashed during the final minutes of an air show at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., at approximately 4 p.m. EDT, April 21.

The pilot did not survive.

The pilot of the jet was joining the Delta formation for the final maneuver of the aerial demonstration when the mishap occurred. It was his second year on the team, and first year as a demonstration pilot.

The other five Blue Angel jets were not involved in the incident and landed safely moments later.

The crash occurred approximately three miles outside the air station in the vicinity of Pine Grove Rd. and White Pine Rd. One civilian on the ground reported minor injuries and was transported to Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Some houses in the area received damage, the extent of which is unclear at this time.

The name of the pilot is being withheld pending the notification of the next-of-kin.

The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=43935
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MSantor
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Will the Hornet offer make the acquiring the soon-to-be retired USN supercarrier USS Kitty Hawk more attractive to India? :armyeek:

http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,166422,00.html


Quote:
 
EADS, Boeing Tout India Fighter Bids
Aviation Week's DTI | Neelam Mathews | April 26, 2008
This article first appeared in the Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

NEW DELHI -- With the deadline for proposals in India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition drawing closer, EADS held a large conference here to tell industry it's ready to submit its response April 28.

Boeing submitted its 7,000-page proposal four days earlier, offering its advanced F/A-18E/F to the Indian air force. Other expected contenders include Lockheed Martin's F-16, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, the MiG-35 and the Swedish Gripen.

The EADS offer would be a goverment-to-government arrangement between India and the four European nations of the EADS consortium, according to Klaus von Sperber, special envoy of the German government.

"We invite India to become a partner of the successful Eurofighter family," said Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Military Air Systems. "The entire group considers India strategically important for EADS. If India becomes our partner, it will become a partner for technology enhancement."

India will be the partner country at the Berlin Air Show and has announced a strong presence at the show with around 25 Indian companies. Bernd Müzelburg, German ambassador in India, told Aerospace DAILY that a discussion would be held with Indian Defense Minister A.K Antony on India's new defense procurement policy, expected in May. Observers expect a requirement for 50 percent offsets on military projects.

"We are open to indirect offsets, especially in the aerospace business," Gerwert said.

Already, EADS is in the process of developing a missile warning system in collaboration with the Defense Avionics Research Establishment (DARE). The development follows a strategic cooperation agreement signed between the two last year based on the MILDS AN/AAR-60 sensor. The first integration tests conducted in DARE's multisensor self-protection suite are said to have been successful.

Like EADS, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems has identified potential public and private industrial partners, having signed long-term partnership agreements with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tata Industries, and Larson and Toubro. "If the F/A-18IN Super Hornet is selected, these companies and others are expected to play a significant role as Boeing transfers some production and assembly to India," Boeing said in a statement.

"Boeing's strategic goal has been to seek a long-term partnership with India to help strengthen the country's aerospace capabilities and enhance its national security," said Chris Chadwick, president of Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility Systems. "Choosing the F/A-18E/F would give Indians a direct hand in building an advanced fighter aircraft that will robustly defend their shores and airspace, infuse new strength into the Indian air force, and serve as a catalyst for India's growing defense aerospace industry."
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edwin
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My guess, More likely it will be Russian aircraft (MIG-35) again. India has establish supporting facilities and infrastructure to their MIGs and Sukhoi.

Most Russian aircraft in the inventory of Indian air force are proven by themselves in many mock up exercises that easily defeated most American "Teen" series fighter including British Tornado.

After a series of restriction and embargoes form Western nation how could India choose a plane that is prone to another restriction.??
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