ST21 wrote: wargamer1985 wrote:
ST21 wrote:Super Hornet shouldnt be in the game IMO. Its a pure post-Cold War aircraft that came into existence due to end of the of the Cold War and drastic budget cuts.
Not true in the slightest. As I have previously said, the F/A-18E/F project (or simply known as the "Super Hornet" before any official designation came through) was actually the accumulation of much progress during the Cold War. As early as 1988 there were concepts and proposals for a souped-up F/A-18, but none of them really achieved maturity due to the fact that the F/A-18C was such a relatively new aircraft with "good enough" systems in place. It wasn't until the very early days of the 1990s that a design was "finalized" and proposed to the US Navy. The Super Hornet project was very much up and running during the hey-day of the Cold War, and regulating it as a "post-Cold War" aircraft is simply incorrect.
You are talking about the original Super Hornet study (also called Hornet 2000) but that was a very different beast from the current Super Hornet. They dont have much in common as you can see:
Fact is the actual Super Hornet design came into the picture in 1991-2 after the collapse of the A-12 program, the end of East-West tensions and the subsequent severe budget cuts that followed. Therefore i stand by my point that the SH shouldnt be in the game. Had the Cold War continued it is very unlikely the USN would have acquired SHs in the 90s since, as you pointed out, the F/A-18C had just entered service. No, I am not talking about that derivative in the slightest. There were roughly three or so concrete ideas for the new Super Hornet, the first would simply extend the range and performance of the aircraft and was considered a low-budget alternative, the second would try to enhance the strike capabilities of the airframe while also adding in new technologies to enhance the air supremacy capabilities and the final proposal was an aircraft designed from the F/A-18 but taking inspiration from the F-14. This final design is what you call the "Hornet 2000" but really we just knew it as "Proposal No. 3." Even from that base design you can see the similarities it has with the F-14 while retaining the cost-effectiveness inherent in the F/A-18 airframe, using a delta wing and canards instead of a swing-wing offered similar high-speed performance to the F-14A while significantly reducing the maintenance costs of a swing-wing design. Of course, in this regard it lacked the versatility the swing-wing offered and so new technology integration was proposed to alleviate this issue. Ultimately, it was found that Proposal No. 3 lacked any realm of cost-effectiveness and in fact was only slightly cheaper than the F-14D while also inheriting poor acceleration from a lack of an adequate, and new, power plant. If you couldn't tell from my description, Proposal No. 2 eventually became the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
With the evaporation of the Soviet threat, some felt that the Navy didnt need a high-end, long range fighter anymore and the Super Hornet reflected that. It was seen as "good enough" for most scenarios envisioned in the post Cold War-era where carrier-borne aircraft were expected to be used at shorter ranges in littoral operations in permissive environments.
Because some felt that this was the case does not make it necessarily true. The US Navy desired very much a long-range and cost-effective strike aircraft, and this role the Super Hornet filled perfectly. Being cheaper, more maneuverable and versatile than the F-14A/D, while having longer range and endurance than the Legacy F/A-18s it provided the perfect balance of the two necessities.
Err, the Super Hornet isnt a long range strike aircraft by any stretch of the imagination, pal. It has a bit more range than the original Hornet but thats not saying much since the F/A-18A/C range is pathetic. The SH range can be considered barely adequate at best. It certainly doesnt have the legs of the F-14 and A-6 and that was one of the main criticisms against the SH back in the late 90s/early 2000s when the program was under fire. And sadly, i think critics were right. The ability of a USN Carrier Battle Group to project power far away has shrunk dramatically with those all-F/A-18s air wings. There is a reason why 25-30% of SH sorties are buddy-tanking missions. Ouch.When you have the world's largest tanker fleet combined with the world largest carrier fleet you can afford to have a strike fighter whose legs aren't as long as an F-14's, especially if this strike fighter makes up for it in other regards. And this the F/A-18 does exceptionally well, be it playing the role of a simple bomb truck, or acting as an air supremacy fighter the F/A-18 serves far better when it came to versatility than the F-14 ever did, even when considering the F-14D. And no, the capability of a USN Carrier Battle Group has not shrunk by any means, in fact, in 95% of situations, it has grown with the integration of solely F/A-18s. Prior to these craft you had a combination of naval aviation on board, be it A-6s, A-7s, F-14s, E-2s, S-3s, F/A-18s among others. And for the most part each of these craft were regulated to their sole duties, the A-6s and A-7s provided ground support, the F-14s supplied interception capability, the F/A-18s supplied air supremacy, the E-2s provided AWACS, and the S-3s provided ASW. With the F/A-18 + E-2 combo the United States Navy essentially had an entire fleet of strike aircraft that could provide the bomb load of a A-6 coupled with the air supremacy of the Legacy Hornets. Despite what you think of the F-14, it was not a good aircraft for multi-role combat, even the F-14D inherited many of the deficiencies found on the original F-14A, be it the sub-par maneuverability, high maintenance cost, large size (which proved troublesome both in the air and on the ground) and its late, late integration of multi-role capacity. Its project was essentially imitated by the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Hell, your last comment on how the Navy only wanted a "good enough" aircraft designed for permissive environments is quite handily refuted by the procurement of the EA-18G Growler. The Super Hornet was not procured because it was "good enough," it was procured because it was the only "good" aircraft in the development phase that had not been cancelled, and as such it became the primary combatant of the USN.
Yes, the Super Hornet was designed for relatively permissive environments. After the end of of the CW, the navy's operational vision shifted from deep attack against near-peer adversaries like the USSR to littoral warfare. Operating in permissive environments was assumed too with the absence of any rival great powers (that was before China's rise) and the Super Hornet reflected that new vision. It didnt need the range of the A-6 since carriers were expected to be stationned closer to the coast of a conflict area. It didnt need the endurance and fleet air defense capability of the F-14 since existential threats to the carrier from the air were supposed to be gone forever.
Thus the Super Hornet was deemed "good enough" for scenarios envisioned in the new post-Cold War world. So no, the Super Hornet was not designed to face near-peer adversaries like the Soviets and thats why i think it was a mistake to add it to the game. Its a pure post-Cold War strike fighter that is the result from a shift in strategy.The F-14 had endurance, and could defend against bombers, but when combining the F/A-18 aircraft with the newer developments to the AEGIS system you have a defense force that is more effective against enemy air supremacy aircraft (the F-14A had AIM-120 integration way too late, and the AIM-7 and AIM-54 were obsolete and inadequate against more modern fighters of the time) while also having a superior system against bomber defense with integration of the RIM-67 and more recently, the RIM-174.
Also, again, the Super Hornet was a project proposal in the making far before the Cold War had ever ended, and considering the importance of the F/A-18 in the US Naval strategy even during the proposal of F-14D integration, I think the Super Hornet is certainly a worthy addition. You can lobby for your F-14D elsewhere, but the point remains that the Super Hornet was born during the Cold War, to upgrade a Cold War fleet for a Cold War strategy.
Its safe to say that if the Cold War had not ended, the Super Hornet would have never seen the light of the day and the US Navy would have carried on with its original procurement plans:
False. The Super Hornet program had begun in earnest far before the Cold War ended, the Navy was just as interested in upgrading its F/A-18 lineage as it was its F-14s, because it realized that the Super Hornets provided the quantitative and versatility edge that the F-14 simply could not, even in the form of the F-14D. In fact, had the Cold War not ended and instead gone hot, it is very safe to say that the Super Hornet's procurement would have been greatly accelerated during this time period.
Nothing false in my statement. Yours however is borderline historical revisionism...
The Super Hornet didnt become a Navy program until 1992. Before that, there were studies done by MDD and thats about it. The USN had no intention to order another Hornet variant in the foreseeable future since the F/A-18C had just entered the fleet. Then the Cold War ended and plans changed...If you think that such is how procurement works I am sorry to reveal this to you, but we started work on the Super Hornet way before the Cold War ended. Call it optimism on our side if you wish, but either way the Super Hornet was very much an alive and pondered option as a cheaper alternative to the F-14D while still providing superior versatility to said aircraft. The only thing the end of the Cold War did was it eliminated our potential rivals, saving a heck of a lot of money on marketing the craft, and also threw out the possibility of the expensive and troublesome Proposal No. 3.
I think Eugen dropped the ball with the F/A-18E and instead should have added the F-14D* and A-6F. Would have been more credible. SH is also way OOTF since the program started in 1992, prototype first flew in 1995 and it reached IOC only in 2001. I know Rafale and Eurofighter reached IOC even later but a least both aircraft have their roots in the Cold War and flew earlier.
The F-14D should have been included in the game, yes, but that does not mean that the F/A-18E is unwarranted. If we are talking realism, the Super Hornet has as much of a place in game as the Rafale, Eurofighter, or other "advanced" 4th generation aircraft do, if not more, because unlike the Rafale, the Super Hornet would still have been a completed aircraft should the Cold War have gone hot.
If we want 100% authenticity, the F-14D would be flying around with the USN and the bigger, beefier brother prototype of the Super Hornet would take the place of the F/A-18E. Not that it matters much anyway, because for all intensive purposes the F/A-18E isn't in the game at all.
No, it most likely wouldnt have.
And remember RD is supposed to take place in 1991-92 anyway therefore the SH is OOTF since it was a paper airplane at that time.This game takes place in 1991, with prototypes going up to roughly 1995 (or further, depending on who you ask. The specifics aren't very clear on the subject). Considering this, the Super Hornet was a prototype from the Cold War, which was to be integrated into Cold War doctrine along with other Cold War aircraft and prototypes. It is a shame that the F-14D or A-12 isn't in game, this is true, but that doesn't deprive the Super Hornet from its rightful place in game.