The US Marine Corps (USMC) is to replace the radars of its Boeing F/A-18 legacy Hornets with a new active electronically scanned array (AESA) system.
A request for information (RFI) issued by the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on 20 March calls for a new AESA system to replace the incumbent Raytheon AN/APG-73 radar on the USMC’s fleet of F/A-18C/D aircraft.
“The AN/APG-73 has been subject to ongoing maintainability, supportability, and readiness issues,” the RFI noted, adding, “AESA solutions are required due to the increased reliability and sustainability requirements, as well as the associated capability improvements.”
According to NAVAIR, the contract will begin on 1 October of this year with retrofits commencing in the fourth quarter of 2020 and running through to the fourth quarter of 2022. A total of 98 AESAs are to be procured to cover seven fleet squadrons of 12 aircraft each plus 14 spare systems. In its list of requirements, NAVAIR states that the new AESA should require no changes to the current radar-aircraft interfaces.
As the incumbent radar provider, Raytheon is likely to pitch its Raytheon Advanced Capability Radar (RACR) that has been adapted from the AN/APG-79 as fitted to the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, and is scaled to be compatible with the legacy Hornet and the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.
As the other prime radar provider to the US military, Northrop Grumman is expected to compete with its Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) that is also compatible with the legacy Hornet and F-16.
Interested parties have until 1500 h Eastern Standard Time on 6 April to respond to the RFI.
Вообще-то, пока решение о модернизации старых "Хорнетов" не принято, но если это сделают, то это будет тот еще распил бюджета (принимая во внимание закупку Флотом новых "Супер-Хорнетов" и наполеоновские планы самих маринов по приобретению F-35).
флот закупает СХ потому что уже летать не на чем. у маринасов все еще хуже, но делать это все надо было 2 года назад
Upd. Хотя оживления старых хорнетов началось 2 года назад, результаты уже должны быть
Это все общеизвестные объяснения. Но поскольку у водоплавающих видов ВС самолетов куда больше, чем даже теоретически можно развернуть даже в случае больших конфликтов (это если забудем, что потребность собственно в палубных самолетах без учета берегового базирования невелика), и поскольку более серьезная проблема всех ВС (хотя, да, водоплавающих - в меньшей степени, чем ВВС) - это нехватка пилотов, а не самолетов, я бы к этим историям о том, как "заставляют летать на гробах", и как эти гробы достают с кладбищ, относился со здоровым скепсисом. У маринсов есть сотня боеготовых F/A-18 (собственно, об их модернизации и спич), десятки "Харриеров" и, на минуточку, вовсю поставляются F-35B.
. . at the beginning of October , in our Super Hornet community alone, only half of our total inventory of 542 aircraft were flyable or mission capable, and only 170 or 31% of the total inventory were fully mission capable and ready to fight . . . This year, we deployed four carrier strike groups to support combat operations and provide strategic deterrence around the world. Consistent with the Navy’s policy of supporting deployed and next to deploy forces, we were forced to cannibalise aircraft, parts and people...
In order to sustain the US Navy strike fighter force, the service is planning to buy 340 F-35C Lightning IIs, procure 24 new Block II Super Hornets in FY2018, procure a further 110 new Block III aircraft in the Future Years Defense Program for FY2019 to FY2023, and to extend the life of and upgrade existing Super Hornets.
In late 2017, there were 30 Super Hornet equipped strike fighter squadrons (19 operating the single-seat F/A-18E and 11 with the two-seat F/A-18F), two fleet replacement squadrons (training units) and three air test and evaluation squadrons in the US Navy fleet.
Over 300 Super Hornets built after 2005 were delivered in Block II configuration equipped with
• the Raytheon APG-79 active electronically scanned radar
• an improved defensive countermeasures system featuring the Raytheon ALR-67(V)3 radar warning receiver and the BAE Systems ALQ-214(V)3 Integrated Defensive Electronic Countermeasures system comprising an ITT signals receiver, a BAE Systems onboard jamming techniques generator and the ALE-55 fi bre-optic towed decoy
• upgraded mission computers
• high-order language operational flight program software
• an aft cockpit dubbed the advanced crew station featuring an 8 x 10-inch (200 x 254mm) tactical display
• new avionics
• enhanced power and cooling systems
• a fi bre-optic data bus
• solid-state data recorder
• a distributed targeting system featuring an image processing module capable of comparing a synthetic aperture radar map, with maps held in a database for precise targeting of GPS-guided weapons
• the joint helmet-mounted cueing system
• AIM-9X Sidewinder and the AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles
In February 2018, the US Navy awarded Boeing a $219.6 million contract to develop and integrate conformal fuel tanks on to the Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler, adding 3,200lb (1,450kg) fuel capacity in low-drag tanks, extending the aircraft’s range by 100–120 miles (160–190km) and increasing its mission flexibility.
The Block III will feature an advanced cockpit equipped with Elbit large flat-panel displays featuring a next-generation user interface. To improve the Block III’s network connectivity capability, the aircraft will feature two systems from the EA-18G Growler, described by Dan Gillian as “the Distributed Target Processor Network [DTPN] and the Tactical Targeting Network Technology [TTNT]. DTPN is the computer providing significant increase in processing power and adds multilevel security and open architecture. That is how new applications can be integrated to the platform faster than ever before to adapt to future threats. The TTNT is the pipe [a high-capacity network] for Super Hornet designed to plug into the EA-18G Growler and E-2D. It adds an ability to move a bandwidth of data back and forth between platforms, which is a key part of the future fight.” The TTNT is produced by Rockwell Collins.
Block III’s service life will include structural changes, simple fastener changes in some instances, complex modifications, installation of fittings and replacement of components to give a 9,000-hour airframe off the production line.
“We actually assessed the Super Hornet [to the point] where we could get it to fly to 12,000 flight hours. The direction we have from the Chief of Naval Operations is to go to the 9,000 flight hour level and tell us if you can go further within the bounds of affordability.
“Service Life Modification [SLM] for the Super Hornet is way more than just a SLEP. It starts with the airframe changes and then we add in capability updates. When you get a legacy Hornet from the depot today, after six to 24 months of overhaul work, the receiving squadron has three months more work to do to add upgrades so the Hornet can go to war. This is unacceptable.
“Currently, we are using up between 300 and 400 hours per Super Hornet aircraft per year. That number varies from unit to unit; a super aircraft might fly more and a hangar queen less. We project that three or four Super Hornets will reach 6,000-flight hours in 2018, seven to ten in 2019 and perhaps 18 or so in 2020.
“All aviators want more thrust, but we have nearly 1,600 engines that we would need to retrofit [to provide greater thrust]. I can see a day when we will need better generators to meet the higher power requirements for the Super Hornet and the Growler. However, new engines are very expensive.