Friday, February 14, 2014

Boeing might have gotten "tailhooked" by the F-35C



Sometimes two news stories come out in such close proximity that the correlation is hard to ignore.

There doesn't appear to be any money earmarked for new F/A-18/F Super Hornet or EA-18 Growler builds in The Pentagon's 2015 fiscal budget.  Boeing is attempting a last ditch effort to appeal to Congress, but that it may prove a hard sell considering the US Navy almost lost an aircraft carrier due to budget pressures.

This could be the end for the Rhino's production run.  Boeing needs orders desperately soon in order to keep the assembly line running past its current 2016 cut-off.  There are a few nations currently kicking the tires of the Super Hornet (like Canada), but it seems unlikely that decisions will be made in time, let alone concrete orders.

Boeing's last, best hope was for the US Navy to procure more Super Hornets as a contingency against issues regarding the F-35C's tail hook problem.

Now, after a redesign, it looks like the F-35C's tail hook issue may be solved.  In recent tests, it was able to "catch the wire" 36 times out of 36 attempts.  Sea trials are scheduled for later this year.

Correlation does not prove causation, but one wonders if the Super Hornet might have gotten a stay of execution if the F-35C's tests went differently.  This is definitely great news for the JSF program however.



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