Mike wrote: Adarius wrote:
The commonality between F/A-18C/D and F/A-18E/F is impressive, but I do not think the F/A-18E/F is relevant to the topic of this thread which is about C version.
To the topic? No, not really. To what you said? Much more so.
Actually, part of what Mike is saying here ties into my statement. The US Navy didn't stop procuring the AN/ALQ-165 because of a lack of funding, but rather due to a shift of focus to the promising Super Hornet (we had presented our proof of concepts to potential buyers in the Fall of 1991). Really, it was seen as a costly and unnecessary move to field advanced countermeasures on an aircraft that was to be replaced by a next-generation successor, especially since these soon-to-be-F/A-18E/Fs would be the leading edge of US Naval air power, and as a result needing the countermeasures and investment far more than the F/A-18C or other Legacy Hornets did. If we wanted to be realistic, theoretically the F/A-18E/F would replace the roles of the F/A-18C and be the top-tier USMC and USN air superiority fighter.
Also, the AN/ALQ-165, decent as a system as it was, does not make a Legacy F/A-18C equivalent to the countermeasure capabilities of an F/A-18E Block I, as not only does the F/A-18E have superior ECM systems integrated under the hood (and plenty of room for expansion, which is part of the reason why the F/A-18E/F's fuselage is so large, because we built the aircraft to last and serve for many generations, and not to simply act as an interim program which many confuse it to be) but it also had many radar-reduction methods (see the geometry of the intakes, for example) and thermal-dampening measures in order to reduce the effectiveness of IR systems against the F/A-18E/F (after all, the F414-GE-400 was a larger and more powerful engine, which as a consequence, generated more thermal pollution, and so we integrated a few methods to reduce these emissions equal to, and in some cases, lower than the thermal emissions of the Legacy lineage) not to mention a more subtle radar array in the form of a air frame-integrated APG-73 on the Block I aircraft, and a APG-79 on the Block II+. All of these attributes make a countermeasure comparison between a modified F/A-18C and a F/A-18E/F null and void, and as such the Finnish Hornet should not have ECM in the same league as the Super Hornet.