Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:06 PM
As a general question to the board, what are your thoughts about the value of this contract?
The Super Hornet has incorporated some stealth features, updated pilot ergonomics and improved both range and payload, all at a highly competitive unit cost.
Open sources claim it costs about 60% of a Rafale, an aircraft with marginal payload and considerable range advantages and it costs just 28% of a Typhoon, a machine with a slight range and performance advantage, but a payload deficit.
Given access to the same weapons and budget the USN seem to have won twice or even three times as many aircraft as similar customers for only a slight performance loss.
The previous incarnation of the Hornet has proved very popular in service with many nations, enjoying a reputation for being robust and highly reliable, even under the stresses of combat. In USN service the new aircraft can utilise much of the legacy equipment its predecessor uses, such as air to air refueling equipment and integrates easily into the existing organisation.
Are there any disadvantages to, what seems to me, to be a very canny buy? Would they have been better served by pursuing a high tech, 5th generation super fighter, like the Raptor or the Sukhoi PAK FA? Is the decision to supplement their F-18 force with F-35s, rather than replace them, the correct one?
Or is my fondness for it's predecessor clouding my judgement? Is this an expensive mistake, equipping the force most likely to engage the enemies of the free world with an old fashioned, low performance dinosaur?
Posted 23 May 2013 - 05:28 PM
If the Brits were canny,
they'd use the latest version of the F-18 for the new carriers, rather than that thing they call the F-35.
Posted 22 June 2013 - 03:01 AM
The thing is flying and doing so quite well.
Unfortunately, it simply costs too much. But that is the fault of the US Military procurement system. After they specificed it they threw in several thousand "upgrades" and that adds a LOT of cost when many parts were already designed to the original specs. Once they had an airframe, they then added a LOT of computer enhancements ... inventing software as you go is the most expensive way to do it.
Sit down and think about what you want, get consensus, and BUILD it without all the myriad changes and "upgrades." If you have half a brain, you can specify something that will do the job for a reasonable cost.
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