First flight of the F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks and Enclosed Weapons Pod.Taken at August 7, 2013. (Image © Boeing)

Advanced Super Hornet into 3rd month of existence

First flight of the F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks and Enclosed Weapons Pod. Taken at August 7, 2013. (Image © Boeing)
First flight of the F/A-18E/F Advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks and Enclosed Weapons Pod. Taken at August 7, 2013. (Image © Boeing)

The next model of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter/strike aircraft ends its second month of existence with the Boeing and Northrop Grumman companies in St. Louis. The so-called Advanced Super Hornet is probably the last attempt to sell a concept originally developed in the late 1970s by McDonnell Douglas.

In August test pilots took the Advanced Super Hornet, which is in fact a F/A-18E with loads of extra gimmicks, through 21 flight tests from St. Louis and NAS Patuxent River to see if the upgraded aircraft would do well.

The Advanced Super Hornet has conformal fuel tanks (CFT), which gives the aircraft an additional combat radius of 130 nautical miles (240 km) to be able to strike within a radius of 700 nautical miles (1296 km), meaning loaded with weapons it can hurt the enemy a bit further than before. An enclosed weapons pod (EWP) gives the aircraft a lower radar profile if the other external hardpoints are not used. Boeing and Grumman, together with GE Aviation and Raytheon, still work on Infrared Search and Track, a better engine and a totally new cockpit.

Boeing hopes to interest potential customers to directly order the Advanced Super Hornet upgrade, or buy the additional Christmas package for one’s existing F/A-18E/F Block II Super Hornet. According to its manufacturer the new stuff will get the old Super Hornet into the advanced 2030s air war.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Marcel Burger with source information of Boeing