Boeing delivered the first of 78 contracted Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets to the U.S. Navy this month.

Block III is the most advanced version of the Super Hornet and exceeds fourth-generation fighter capabilities, say Boeing.

“The fleet needs capabilities to keep its edge,” said Capt. Jason Denney, U.S. Navy F/A-18 and EA-18G programme manager.

“Getting the first operational Block III in our hands is a great step forward in supporting our capability and readiness goals.”

Block III is ready to receive software apps-based solutions that will allow upgrades to the aircraft throughout its life span.

“We invested in Block III technology and developed the capabilities in partnership with the U.S. Navy to meet its emerging requirements,” said Jen Tebo, Boeing vice president of F/A-18 and EA-18G programmes.

“The hardware upgrades are complete. Today we are maximizing the open hardware and software and developing the apps to keep Block III ahead of future threats. We are giving Navy pilots the tools to make the fastest and most informed decisions possible now and in the future.”

It is understood that new capabilities include the advanced cockpit system with a 10-inch-by-19-inch touch screen display, enhanced networking, open mission systems, reduced radar signature and a 10,000-hour airframe.

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Ian M
Ian M
13 days ago

So, now aircraft have “Apps”? I thought they had triple redundant software written in a very stable code (ADA and C are still used), not apps like is wot’s on my iphone!

Bluemoonday
Bluemoonday
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Pretty sure alibaba won’t be available for starters

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago

Are these new blockIII significantly better than the older f18s? Range, Speed ect?.

And the F35b has the f18s beat in almost all category’s doesn’t it? So the f35c must be even better….🤔

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Additional information can be found via this link including the new cockpit display.

https://www.boeing.com/defense/fa-18-super-hornet/

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Almost double the range, that was badly needed.,,,500 miles wasnt exactly the best range,

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

We can expect even greater range with the MQ-25 Stingray entering production soon.

I wonder if this is the reason for our potential carrier upgrade to accommodate them in the future?

20 SEPTEMBER 2021

Boeing to build Stingray production facility in Illinois
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/boeing-to-build-stingray-production-facility-in-illinois

Last edited 13 days ago by Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

This show will also be worth keeping an eye on.

Take note of the WZ-8 UAV in the article. The Dongfeng-26 has a range between 3000-4000km.

And one for our Chancellors next defence budget to match! 😂

“According to Janes forecasts, China’s defence budget will grow by about 65% – from approximately USD258 billion to USD426 billion – between 2021 and 2030.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/airshow-china-2021

Last edited 13 days ago by Nigel Collins
Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

The MQ-25 looks great, whats it’s takeoff length and recovery method? If it was say STOBAR “short take off but arrester recovery”n then it wouldn’t be too hard to get HMS QE equipped with them, and that would help massively with the F35bs range And missions.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper
Daveyb
Daveyb
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The Boeing MQ-25 Stingray is a CATOBAR aircraft. The engine does not have the oomph for STO even when using a ramp. But with a max all up weight lighter than a F18E, it can carry more than 16,000lbs of fuel. The MoD’s RFI for the EMALS and arrested recovery system are within the parameters for Stingray.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Wow, yep it’s more capable,,,,

Deep32
Deep32
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

You would think so wouldn’t you! Begs the question why are the USN buying F18s in any version then, if the F35s are a far better aircraft?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Cheaper to run?

Easier to maintain on a carrier?

Deep32
Deep32
13 days ago

Hard to disagree mate! Might also add greater fueled range and payload!
It appears that USN aren’t that keen on their C variants, if, as well as these new buys, they are also upgrading the majority of their Blk 2 Super Hornets?

luciusjulius
luciusjulius
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

It’s a matter of numbers. LM will build 139 F-35s this year, 151 in 2022 (from a pre-COVID plan of 169), and 156 in 2023 into the foreseeable future. That’s all versions of the F-35 for all customers, US and allies. The US Navy is only procuring 78 new block F-18s and will upgrade the remainder of the fleet. So, just like part of the reason the USAF purchased the F-15EX, the Navy needs airplanes and this is the best solution.

Deep32
Deep32
13 days ago
Reply to  luciusjulius

I understand where you’re coming from WRT numbers, but, I think there is more to it. Total numbers wise, the F18 will outnumber the F35C some 2.5 to 1. The vast majority of those will be older airframes, so limited life span! Personally, I think the C varient is a evolutionary dead end in terms of future development. The USN will get their 250 odd C versions and I think bar a miracle that will be it for the foreseeable. Both the USN and USAF our pushing hard for a NGAD fighter, why if the F35 is the dogs nads?… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

The problem is that F35 is a Swiss Army knife and you need to modify all of them for all attachments so it gets painfully expensive and complicated to modify anything given the multinational + three stranded A, B & C nature of the program. There is also the need for a Hi-Low mix as well as the fact that there is probably something better coming along that was actually made for carrier ops. THB I think RN did the right thing wrt the F35B and QEC as the costs of F35C with carrier deck qualifications would have killed the… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
12 days ago

And this is what gets my goat about the whole F35 thing! Far too many people think its the answer to the Wests lack of military spending, the miracle that come the day, will win the war for us!! Whereas as you say. its v expensive, upgrades are years late, costing more billions if you implement them – which you have to to get any decent weapons outfit!! Have to hand it to the US, they played a blinder getting everyone to buy it!! Totally agree with you ref F35B, although I thought the SHAR was a good bit of… Read more »

luciusjulius
luciusjulius
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

The fact that both the USAF and US Navy are pushing hard for a NGAD shouldn’t be seen as a slap at the F-35.That’s how US fighter development has operated ever since WW2. The US is always developing the next generation while producing the current generation. It’s one of the benefits of having the world’s largest economy and a Congress willing to spend on defense. Two other factors need to be kept in mind. The F-35 is incredibly complex and difficult to build. The first F-35 flew fifteen years ago. Twenty year old technology. There have been enormous advances in… Read more »

John
John
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Responding to your older airframes, limited lifespan comment.

You need to take into account the fact that this upgrade will also extend the lifespan from 6k miles to 10k hours. As we can safely assume they’re somewhere below 6k, it’s essentially a doubling of their current life.

Deep32
Deep32
12 days ago
Reply to  John

Good point mate, missed that little gem. Ta.

Daveyb
Daveyb
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

I think the USN are following the same rational as the USAF, until NGAD comes into service. They will use the F35 is a similar role to the F22, where they will be used at an extended distance from a strike or fighter package to act as a spotter. Then using the F18 as a weapons mule ala F15X. Fire stand-off weapons at the target. Hence the recent drive by both the USAF and USN to replace AMRAAM with a longer range missile.

Deep32
Deep32
12 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

All well and good and arguably correct, as long as said strike package can actually get into range to launch those standoff weapons. Think a peer opposition might have something to say about it, namely taking out the vital enablers – AAR assets etc. No good having all this if you cant actually get to the fight! I think the USN is in a particularly bad place wrt anything going South with Taiwan/SCS. Everything that they can launch is out ranged, requires tanker/AAR support, thats what the opposition will go for first surely, saves on actual aircraft fistycuffs!! Im no… Read more »

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Deep32

Maybe they want a mix..

John
John
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

American here… It’s important to understand the US Navy has had a mix for a very long time. Most of the F35Cs are replacing legacy Hornets. Not Super Hornets. Meanwhile, the Super Hornets replaced F14s. We could go back from there. Basically, it was NEVER the plan to replace the Super Hornets with F35Cs. However, essentially all of the legacy Hornets are being replaced with F35Cs. I don’t know the exact numbers, and it’s possible the actual mix/ratio has changed, but don’t perceive the order itself to be a sign of anything, rather the real answer may be in the… Read more »

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  John

Thanks John mate 👍🇺🇸🇬🇧

Daniel
Daniel
13 days ago
Reply to  John

Another American Here. Plan is to have 28 Super Hornets and 16 F-35C in the Airwing. Plus 5-8 Growlers, 5-8 StingRay and 5 E-2. PLus Helo’s.

Deep32
Deep32
12 days ago
Reply to  Daniel

That is a much reduced Airwing from previous ones, where they were around 75+ aircraft. Any idea what the current thinking is behind this reduction in aircraft per Airwing?

OOA
OOA
13 days ago

Fitter’s version: strapped an iPad to it, download Facebook messenger, slapped on a bit of black paint here and there on the sharp bits and it was ready to rock.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
13 days ago

I wonder how much this would cost, and how much it would take, to do the same with the Typhoon’s, give them a mega upgrade, rather than buying F35’s?

Are the F35’s more for Royal Navy use?

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

The RAF have f35s too. And Typhoons took over from tornado and we’re upgraded for ground atack role. We need the f35bs for our carriers and th3 orders already been almost halved!! From 136!! And it’s the only jet we can use on our carriers and that includes tempest. So will we be buying enough F35bs to last all that time!! Decades flying from our carriers and only 70 odd total!! It’s not enough 130 odd was the right number.. But We should build a dozen new typhoons to replace tranche ones though and upgrade them, it’ll keep the production… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The F35s are RAF owned assets I believe.

JFL that operate them is fully joint.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Unfortunately, we can’t afford to upgrade Typhoon, buy more F35’s, fund Tempest, and buy another batch of new Typhoons. Radar 2 for Typhoon will be a fantastic bit bit of kit, but it won’t be cheap.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

How come we could afford sea harrier, harrier, tornado, typhoon development, Army 3x bigger, Navy 10,000 more personnel,RAF with10,000 more personel, twice as many helicopters, twice as many navy escorts, 3 light carriers, hms ocean, 4x bay, mor RFA ships. lots of anti ship missiles, more Royal Marines, 3x more chally tanks, far more Army vehicles, almost double the RAF bases and far more barracks ect, dozes of nimrods and other key RAF assets. Large base in germany, and we spent less than we do now on the millitary? There must be creative accounting going on… This is just of… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

It’s pretty simple really. Everything now costs a lot more money. For example back in the day a brand new Tornado GR1 cost about 15m. Today a Typhoon is around 85m. Military equipment today is far more expensive across the board, but also far more capable. It would take 2 Tornado GR4’s and one Tornado F3 to do what one Typhoon can do in a single sortie. Plus back in the 90’s we spent something like 3.7% of GDP on defence, probably over 4% in the early 90’s. Today it’s about 2.2%. And despite the numbers, we had some pretty… Read more »

andy a
andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Try uping defence spending back to 4%. we spend far less now taking inflation into account

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
13 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Typhoons are not stealthy like F35s the chances of them being able to operate in hostile airspace that is guarded by modern AA systems such as the S-400 or similar is pretty slim.

Last edited 13 days ago by Bringer of Facts
Tom Keane
Tom Keane
13 days ago

But … Typhoons are cheaper, thats why I posed the question. The F35’s might be nice, but cost loads, and the Tories wont buy what we need.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Depends, the Typhoon is actually more expensive sometimes… depending on f35b current prices..

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Typhoon will be upgraded. The new AESA Radar 2 will be fitted, Striker 2 DHMS, SPEAR 3, SPEAR EW A new wide area cockpit display, plus a whole host of other avionic upgrades to defensive aids, and processing power. Radar 2 will also introduce electronic attack modes.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Shame we won’t even have 100 flying.

johnf
johnf
13 days ago

Two engines are always better than one, and a longer range with upgraded airframe, radar, and avionics. Whats not to like?

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
13 days ago
Reply to  johnf

F35B has a considerable larger internal fuel capacity compared to Typhoon.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

How come typhoon range is far more?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Typhoon doesn’t have far greater range. All the stories about the F35’s range are largely blown out of proportion . F35B carries around 14k pounds of internal fuel compared to the Typhoons 9k. Even with it’s two external tank’s, F35 still carries more fuel internally

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

F-35B

The jet measures 15.6m (51.2ft) in overall length, has a wingspan of 10.7m (35ft) and a height of 4.36m (14.3ft). Its top speed comes in at 1.6 Mach or 1,200mph – that is 1.6 times the speed of sound. The jet’s maximum thrust tops 40,000lbs, it has an amazing range of 900 nautical miles (1666.8Km) and a combat radius of 833km.

Eurofighter Typhoon

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air superiority fighter and is manufactured by a consortium of Airbus, … Wikipedia

Top speed2,495 km/h
Range: 2,900 km
Weight11,000 kg
Length16 m
Wingspan11 m

Klonkie
Klonkie
13 days ago

Everyone here is wrong!. Bring back the Buccaneer. Down and dirty in the reeds, payload and range to boot! Stealth, shmealth! Besides who need super-cruise sepersonic? 50 feet at 600 knots is where it’s at.

AV
AV
13 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Now that was an aircraft…nothing could touch it down low…RAF didnt want it but ended up loving it…I’m sure SA would have happily had more if not for apartheid embargoes?…an often overlooked aircraft…showed many people up at Red Flag back in the day.

Klonkie
Klonkie
12 days ago
Reply to  AV

Hi AV .I served in the SAAF for 4 years in the early 80’s- mainly in Ops. I don’t know how they kept the Bucc’s going, but they did. A couple were canabilised for spares and I seem to recall only six were left when retired in 1991.

AV
AV
12 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Think sanctions scuppered the follow on order and indeed the spares support. From my understanding it was a major challenge to keep them air worthy…used extensively despite this, certainly gave hell across bordering countries anyways 😉

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

There’s one parked at a garage not far from me.. it’s a start..

Paul T
Paul T
13 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

There is one parked up at Manston, sat next to a Jaguar, I was surprised how much bigger the Buccaneer actually is.

Reaper
Reaper
13 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thy are quite big! Sadly I just found out the one at Lossiemouth Garage has been sold to a millionaire in FIFE so will be gone!! That thing was a tourist attraction and a sight in its own right, sad to see it go…

andy a
andy a
7 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

wrong again, Vulcan and make it multi role. Could put new engines on and run it of the carriers with one of the American super caterpults! if they can put a hercules on a carrier!!!