Whether or not a Block II Super Bug could really beat out a F-15K deriative, needless to say this is some good info on the latest in the Super Bugs. With JMHCS, AIM-9X, AESA APG-79, and the ACS I like Block II Fox models, but Echoes are a waste of scrap!
Now all we need is that funds for GE increased thrust version of the F414's and Block III Fox Bugs will be a real competitor to F-15K's!
Super Hornet Next Candidate for Singapore Competition
Carrying its first combat markings, Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a candidate for the next major fighter competition, in Singapore. The island nation is looking for 20 high-end fighters and expects to short-list three aircraft from six candidates (Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale, F-16 Block 60, Su-30MK, F-15 and the Super Hornet) this summer.
While full details of the Super Hornet's performance in Iraq have not been released as yet, the fighter performed a wide range of missions. VFA-115, based on the USS Abraham Lincoln and one of two single-seat F/A-18E squadrons engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom, delivered 350,000 pounds of ordnance during the war. The aircraft flew long-range close-air-support missions with 4,000 pounds of recoverable ordnance and delivered weapon loads as heavy as 8,000 pounds per aircraft. VFA-115 Super Hornets were also used extensively as tankers: the fighter brings the Navy an organic "combat tanker" capability that it lost when the last KA-6 Intruders were retired. The squadron's Hornets flew 18-20 tanker sorties per day, each of them supporting two combat sorties.
The two-seat F/A-18Fs of VFA-41 were the first U.S. aircraft to use a helmet-mounted display (HMD) in combat, employing the Vision Systems International Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) on Strike Coordinating Armed Reconnaissance (SCAR) missions. Using JHMCS, Super Hornet crews could detect a target visually, determine its exact coordinates and pass its location to a single-seat fighter. These aircraft also made the first combat use of the new Shared Reconnaissance Pod (SHARP).
Now rolling down the St Louis assembly line are the first Super Hornets with a redesigned forward fuselage. With a composite skin and frames and bulkheads produced with the help of high-speed machining, the new fuselage has 40% fewer parts than the original design and offers better access for maintenance. It will also accommodate the Raytheon APG-79 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and advanced crew station (ACS) in the rear cockpit, with an 8 x 10-inch display. Together, these are now defined as the Block 2 configuration.
With the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on the horizon, Boeing is emphasizing the two-seater F/A-18F and its electronic attack derivative, the EA-18G. The company has leased the first F/A-18F back from the Navy and will use it to demonstrate the value of a two-seat fighter in complex missions, and as a "node" in a networked battlefield. The majority of the Super Hornets yet to be delivered to the Navy are two-seaters, and the service is carefully channeling its remaining F-14 radar intercept officers (RIOs) through Block 1 F/A-18Fs so that they will form a core group of weapon system officers (WSOs) on the Block 2 aircraft.
Boeing points out that the AESA and the big-screen rear cockpit are complementary. The AESA can switch between air-to-air and air-to-surface modes so quickly that they appear to operate concurrently-and this capability can be exploited fully if the pilot takes charge of the air-to-air picture while the WSO searches for surface targets.
Boeing expects to receive a contract for the second multi-year production (MYP) batch of F/A/18E/Fs later this year. Under present plans, the Navy intends to buy a total of 550 Super Hornets, including 90 EA-18Gs.