|This picture is accurate. The Gripen really is that small and the Super Hornet really is that big!|
For those of you out there who like to crunch numbers, here's one for you.
Reader Kirk Webber has compiled this excellent spreadsheet filled with information on modern western fighters that could be potential CF-18 replacements. This information includes information pertaining to the current CF-18 Hornet (as a baseline), as well as for the F-22 Raptor (as a comparison).
I have not tampered with the data in anyway, but I did modify the format somewhat (fonts, colored columns, etc) in an attempt to make it more "readable". There is A LOT of data here, and I haven't been able to confirm all of it.
Numbers alone do not tell a complete story, of course. Factors like reliability, commonality, ergonomics, and others are hard to express as a simple numerical value. Other factors need to valued depending on context. For example, stealth is much more useful as a first-day strike capability than it is for performing close-air-support over uncontested airspace. As usual, I encourage my readers to make their own decisions.
[NOTE: If you have trouble viewing the document, you may need to click the "Download" button and view the PDF in a dedicated PDF viewer. It's about 160k, no malware, I promise!]
I am going to invite Mr. Webber to monitor this page so that he can answer any questions you might have regarding sources or methodology.
Thanks again Kirk! Your work here is greatly appreciated.