Saturday, October 8, 2011

Deadly McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet

Army and Weapons | Deadly McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet | The McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) F/A-18 Hornet is a supersonic, all-weather carrier-capable multirole fighter jet, designed for air combat and attack ground targets (F / A for Fighter / Attack). Designed by McDonnell Douglas and Northrop, the F/A-18 was derived from his YF-17 in the year 1970 for use by the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other countries. It is the aerial demonstration aircraft for the flight of U.S. Navy Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels since 1986.

The F/A-18 has a top speed of Mach 1.8. It can perform a wide variety of bombs and missiles, including air-air and air-to-ground, supplemented with 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon. The two General Electric F404 engines deliver 17,750 pounds-force (79.0 kN) each with afterburner, making the aircraft a high thrust-to-weight ratio. The F/A-18 has excellent aerodynamic properties, mainly due to the leading edge extensions (LERX). The fighter's primary mission fighter escort, fleet air defense, combat enemy air defenses (SEAD), air interdiction, close air support and air reconnaissance. Its versatility and reliability have proven to be a valuable asset backing, but it has been criticized for its lack of range and payload compared to his earlier contemporaries, such as the Grumman F-14 Tomcat in the fighter and strike fighter role, and the Grumman A-6 Intruder and A-7 Corsair II LTV in the attack role.
The F/A-18 Hornet provided the baseline design for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, a larger, evolutionary redesign of the F/A-18. Compared with the Hornet, the Super Hornet is bigger, heavier and has improved range and payload. The F/A-18E/F was originally proposed as an alternative to an entirely new aircraft to replace existing specific attack aircraft like the A-6. The larger version is also focused on the aging F-14 Tomcat to replace, thus serving a complementary role with Hornets in the U.S. Navy, and serving a wider range of features, including refueling tanker, and electronic jamming platform .
The first production F/A-18A flew on 12 April 1980. After a run of 380 F/A-18As [11] (including the nine assigned to flight systems development), production shifted to the F/A-18C in September 1987.
The F/A-18 is a twin engine, mid-wing, multi-mission tactical aircraft. It is highly maneuverable, thanks to its good thrust to weight ratio, digital fly-by-wire steering, and the leading edge extensions (LEX). The LEX is the Hornet to remain controllable at high angles of attack. The wing has a trapezoidal shape with 20 degree sweep back on the front and a straight trailing edge. The wing has full span leading edge flaps and trailing edge is single-slot flaps and ailerons on the entire range.
Canted vertical stabilizers are another distinguishing design element, one of the many other elements that make an excellent high the Hornet's angle-of-attack can be oversized horizontal stabilizers, oversized trailing edge flaps that operate as flaperons, large full-length leading edge slats, and flight control computer programming that the movement of each control surface at low speeds and moves the vertical rudders multiplies inside instead of just left and right. The Hornet's normally high angle-of-attack performance envelope was to rigorous testing and enhanced in the NASA F-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV). NASA used the F-18 HARV in flight handling characteristics at high angle to show-of-attack (alpha) of 65-70 degrees with thrust vectoring vanes. F/A-18 stabilizers were also used as canards on NASA's F-15S/MTD.
The Hornet was among the first aircraft to heavy use of multifunction displays, on the switch of a button, pilots can either fighter or attack roles or both to perform. This "force multiplier" power, the operational commander more flexibility in employing tactical aircraft in a rapidly changing battle scenario. It was the first Navy aircraft a digital multiplex avionics bus, so that they can easily upgrade.
The Hornet is also notable for being designed to reduce maintenance and consequently requires much less downtime than its heavier counterparts, the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder. The mean time between failure is three times larger than any other Navy strike aircraft, and requires half the maintenance time. The General Electric F404 engines were also innovative in that they were first designed with ease of use, reliability and maintainability. The engine, while not unusual in the nominal performance, demonstrates exceptional robustness under different conditions and is resistant to stall and Flameout. The F404 engine is connected to the hull just 10 points and can be replaced without special equipment, a team of four, the engine can be removed within 20 minutes.
The engine air inlets of the Hornet, like that of the F-16 are of a simpler "fixed" design, while that of the F-4, F-14 and F-15 have variable geometry or variable ramp air intakes. This is a rate limiting factor in the Hornet design. Instead, the Hornet uses bleed air vents on the inner surface of the engine air intake ducts to slow and reduce the amount of air reaching the engine. Although not as effective as variable geometry, bleed air technique functions well enough to achieve near Mach 2 speeds, within the designed mission requirements.
USMC A 1989 study found that single seat fighters were well suited for air-air combat missions while seat fighters were favored for complex strike missions against heavy air and ground defense in bad weather. The question is not so much about whether a second pair of eyes would be helpful, but if having the second crew member sitting in the same fighter or fighter in half. Single-seat fighters wingmen which proved to be particularly vulnerable missing.
Modernization development is underway for the next series Hornet, the F/A-18E/F, which increased mission radius, endurance and survival will be above that of its predecessor, while providing the capacity for twenty-plus years of growth not available in the current F/A-18C/D. There will be a comprehensive agreement in weapons systems, avionics and software between the two aircraft and infrastructure to support the new Hornet will grow from in-place organizations. The lethality, flexibility, reliability, and survivability of the F/A-18E/F is the plane of choice for most of the missions associated with regional and littoral scenarios to meet.