Fighter Jet Fight Club: Rafale versus Super Hornet!

This week, we will revisit two "runner ups" from previous FJFC installments and and pit them up against each other.  In the end, some of you may feel slightly vindicated.  Others will simply be more angry with me...  Sorry about that.

From an aesthetic point of view, the Dassault Rafale and the Boeing Super Hornet are two very different looking fighters.  The Rafale uses a close-coupled canard-delta wing layout with a single vertical stabilizer while the Super Hornet (a.k.a. "Rhino") uses a more familiar trapezoidal wing with traditional elevators and two canted stabilizers.

Despite looking quite different, the two aircraft have a lot in common.  Both are twin-engine, carrier capable jets with similar payloads and operating ranges.  Despite years of faithful service from both aircraft, foreign buyers are scarce.  Dassault has managed win India's MMRCA competition, but has yet to finalize.  Boeing has managed to sell a small number of Super Hornets and Growlers to Australia.  Both suffered defeat in Brazil after the plucky little Swedish Gripen drank their milkshake.

For those keeping score, (you shouldn't) both examples here were narrowly beaten out by their previous competitors.  Yet both of them would have likely won if compared against those same competitors today, instead of the year 2020.  As always, remember that all systems are considered to work as advertised and and cost is not a factor.  A more detailed look at the rules can be found here.


Interdiction/Penetration:  While not a stealth aircraft per se, the Rafale does have a lower radar signature than older "4th generation" fighters like the F-18 or legacy F/A-18.  This is an added benefit to using nonmetallic composites in much of its construction.  Some other "tricks", like burying the engine inlets and mild reshipping of the fuselage also help reduce radar signature.  Much has been said about the Rafale's SPECTRA electronic warfare suite, capable of detecting hostile threats and either jamming enemy radar or deploying decoys and countermeasures.  

The Super Hornet, while larger than older F/A-18 Hornets, offers a much reduced radar cross section. (RCS).  Like the Rafale, this is done through increased use of composite construction, as well as paying close attention to body panel alignment as well as the engine inlet design.  Like the Rafale, the Super Hornet carries an impressive electronic warfare suite.   If the EA-18G Growler variant of the F/A-18 is considered, the Rhino wins this portion easily. The near single purpose Growler, equipped with powerful ALQ-99 ECM jamming pods and ALQ-218 tactical jamming receivers is custom made for seeking out ground based threats and eliminating them.  Since the Growler is a single-purpose electronic attack aircraft, with only self-defense air-to-air capabilities, it is considered disqualified from FJFC for comparison purposes.

Since both aircraft have similar RCS combined with similar electronic warfare suites, there is little choice but to declare this one a draw.  Advantage:  Tie...  Unless you count the EA-18G Growler.

Deep Strike:  Both aircraft have similar combat radii, and any significant differences in ferry ranges or the like may benefit the Rafale based on using figures from the ground based Rafale C instead of the carrier based Rafale M.  Both aircraft are capable of mounting up to five external fuel tanks.  Dassault and Boeing have both studied the potential of adding CFT capability as well.  Whatever the case, both aircraft can be described as having more than sufficient range.

With both aircraft being more or less tied for range, we have to look at their long range air-to-ground weaponry.  Namely, stand-off missiles, also know as ALCMs.  The Rafale equips the impressive SCALP EG (also known as the Storm Shadow) missile, which can deliver a 450kg warhead about 500km away.  The Super Hornet's new AGM-158 JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile - Extended Range) delivers a similar sized warhead, but can do so at roughly twice the range.  This give the Rhino a significant advantage here.
 Advantage:  Super Hornet

Payload:  French Air Force versions of the Rafale have a remarkable 14 hard points capable of handling 20,900lbs of ordinance.  Of these, four (two wingtip, two flush with the rear fuselage) are usually dedicated to air-to-air missiles, leaving 10 hard points for fuel, bombs, or air-to-ground missiles.  The Rafale is capable of handling nuclear ordinance as well.

The Super Hornet is capable of handling a slightly lower, but still impressive 17,750lbs worth of weapons.  It is slightly more limited in how it carries it however, with only 11 total hard points, including two wingtip missile rails and two conformal hard points built for the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

With more payload capability combined with additional hard point options, the Rafale wins this round.  Advantage:  Rafale

Close-air-support:  The Rafale and the Super Hornet are both easy to handle at lower speeds and altitudes.  As carrier capable aircraft, they have to be.  Picking a winner here is difficult, as both aircraft have similar weapon capability, but without a "killer app" like the Brimstone missile.  The Rafale might have Brimstone capability in the future, but nothing is certain at the present.  What the Rafale does have is the option to equip both rocket pods and a twin 30mm gun pod to supplement its built in 30mm GIAT 30 cannon.

The Super Hornet's most impressive weapon in the close-air-support arsenal is the precision SDB II (Small Diameter Bomb) which carries a 250lb warhead for minimal collateral damage.

With both fighters being incredibly competent for close-air-support, this one ends up as a draw.  Advantage:  Tie

Air-to-ground winner:  Tie  Both aircraft are more than capable ground pounders, with only minor differences in maximum payload and weapon types.


[Note:  In the Super Hornet's last FJFC appearance, it lost some points due to a lack of a built-in IRST.  As some have mentioned, there is a combination IRST/external fuel tank being tested.  I have decided to include it here, and will continue to do so in the future.  Its presence against the F-35 would likely have made a little difference (the Rhino won the WVR section, where IRSTs work best), but the outcome would have likely been the same.]

First-look, first-kill:  Again, these different-looking fighters have remarkably similar capability.  Both have similarly sized AESA radars and, with the F/A-18E/F's fuel tank/IRST in place, both aircraft have modern IRSTs.  Neither aircraft is truly "stealth" but both have reduced radar signatures compared to older fighters.

Comparing the aircraft's EW and countermeasures pose a similar challenge.  The Rafale has its famous SPECTRA, which looks to become more impressive in the future.  Two infra-red sensors on either side of the tail fin will give the Rafale pilot a near 360 degree view of the airspace.  Not to be outdone, Boeing is contemplating installing the EA-18G's sensors (but not jammers) on the Super Hornet.  This would enable the Super Hornet pilot to detect radio emissions not normally detected.

Neither fighter has a clear advantage in detection or stealth.  There may be significantly different details, but not enough for me to declare one superior to the other.  Advantage:  Tie

Beyond-Visual-Range:  While both aircraft have a theoretical top speed of Mach 1.8, the Rafale is faster where it counts.  Capable of supercruise, the Rafale is just as comfortable going supersonic as is it is subsonic.  It that was not enough, the Super Hornet gets considerably draggy when weapons and fuel tanks are mounted. Both aircraft have similar service ceilings, but the Rafale has a much higher rate of climb and can get there much faster.  If both aircraft are considered to have similar BVR missiles, than the Rafale has a clear advantage by being able to add more energy to them through speed and altitude.

Then, there is the real kicker.  The Rafale will soon be cleared for the MBDA Meteor, while the Super Hornet will stick with the AMRAAM for the foreseeable future.  While one could argue about the effectiveness of both missiles' guidance systems and the like, the big difference here is the Meteor's ramjet engine.  While the ranges might be listed as similar, the Meteor's ramjet gives it more flexibility and a much larger "no-escape-zone".

Even without the MBDA Meteor, the Rafale has a clear advantage in long-range combat.  It is faster and it climbs better.  In air combat, speed + altitude = energy, and energy is life.  Advantage:  Rafale, clear winner

Within-visual-range:  Assuming both aircraft have IRSTs and decent WVR missiles, like the AIM-9X Sidewinder or the MBDA MICA IR, this one gets a little tougher to call.  The Rafale is the acrobat of the two, with better wing loading numbers, a higher thrust-to-weight, and higher g-load numbers.  To put it quite simply, it is more agile than the Rhino.

Good thing for the F/A-18E/F that it has its vaunted "nose authority".  This enables it to conduct high AoA (angle of attack) maneuvers and point its missiles where they need to go.  Thanks to its helmet-mounted-display, the Super Hornet doesn't need to be as agile, however.  If the pilot can see it, it can be shot.  This is the one area that always seems to haunt the Rafale, while an HMD has been tested for it, there has yet to be any firm plans.

If the Rafale had an HMD, it would run away with this.  That being said, shooting a HOBS (high-off foresight) missile to the side or even behind an aircraft to its intended target is certainly impressive, but not ideal. This is a tough one to call, (and I'm sure some will disagree) but I have to declare this one a draw.  The Rhino has the better aim, but the Rafale is the tougher target.  Advantage:  Tie (if only the Rafale had an HMD!)

Dogfight:  When the missiles are gone and the gloves come off, which aircraft is left standing?  Both aircraft do quite well in the low speed/low altitude/high-AoA regime.  The Rafale's close-coupled canard design helps put more air over the big delta wings, producing more lift.  The Super Hornet's twin canted tails and trapezoidal wings help it perform seemingly gravity defying maneuvers.

With low-speed maneuverability pretty much a dead heat, the dogfight winner will likely be the one able to bring the bigger boom.  Here, the Super Hornet is let down somewhat by its venerable M61 20mm Vulcan cannon.  While there is nothing wrong with the M61 per se, it does take a few moments to get up to its 6,000 rounds per minute firing rate.  In reality, its true firing rate is much closer to the 2,500 rounds per minute of the Rafale's GIAT 30.  There is also the not-so-insignificant difference in calibre.  With similar muzzle velocities, the Rafale's 30mm cannon wins this one.  The Super Hornet may carry more ammunition, but it is easy to imagine which Dirty Harry would prefer.

Both aircraft are excellent gunfighters.  Knowing that, I would put my money on the one with the bigger gun.  Advantage:  Rafale

Air-to-air winner:  The Boeing Super Hornet was originally intended to replace both the F-14 Tomcat and the A-6 Intruder.  Clearly, some air-to-air compromise needed to be made, but the developers seem to have erred more towards the ground attack role.  While the Super Hornet is an acceptable air-superiority fighter, it does not have the same balanced approach as the Rafale.  As France's sole front line fighter, the Rafale cannot have any glaring weaknesses.  It succeeds in this regard with the exception of one minor detail, a HMD.  Even without the HMD, the Rafale is fast enough, agile enough, and powerful enough to handle the Super Hornet.  Winner:  Rafale


Versatility:  The Rafale is marketed as an "Omnirole" fighter, and with good reason.  It seems to be equally adept at either the strike or air-superiority roles.  While other fighters may be better at one role or the other, the Rafale is possibly the most balanced solution out there.  With the carrier capable Rafale M, alongside a choice of either single-seat or two-seat versions, the Rafale can handle just about any role given to it.  

Take a look at the United States Navy, however and you will notice that they currently operating a strictly "Hornet only" fighter fleet.  While some air-superiorty capability was lost with the retirement of the F-14, the USN has made do.  In fact, with the legacy Hornet F/A-18C/D, Super Hornet F/A-18E/F, and the EA-18G Growler, the USN is quite happy, thank you.  Senior USN brass have even gone on the records stating that they could cope just fine with a Super Hornet/Growler fleet if the F-35C does not pan out.  The prospect of an "Advanced Super Hornet" with CFT's, enclosed weapon pods, and upgraded engines is being looked at with great interest.  Even without future improvements, the Super Hornet and Growler provide a great "one-two-punch" for the USN.  The Growler variant offering a EW/ECM capability seen nowhere else in the world.

The Rafale is a great single-type solution, but the Growler variant of the Super Hornet makes up for any faults the F/A-18E/F has as an air-superiority fighter.  Advantage:  Tie

Logistics:  With a carrier version available, the Rafale should have no problem adapting to rough landing strips or the like.  It fuels up using the "probe-and-drogue" aerial refueling system, much like Canada's current CF-18s.  In all, the Rafale would be an easy aircraft to live with... If you do not mind your parts and weapons supply coming strictly from France.  

The Super Hornet can go anywhere and do just about anything the CF-18 does.  It is slightly larger, but other that that its logistics are the same, if not better.  It uses standard American NATO weaponry.  Considering that the USN operate the Super Hornet all over the world, it is pretty soon that wherever you are, parts can be made available.    Advantage:  Super Hornet

Versatility/Logistics winner:  Both aircraft are excellent workhorse, capable of performing whatever role thrown at them.  The Rafale is a better air-superiority fighter, but the existence of the EA-18G Growler easily remedies this.  Any military committed to the Super Hornet should take advantage of the commonality with the Growler, much like Australia has.  What really wins this for the Super Hornet is its use with the USN and the existing support for the aircraft.  Winner:  Super Hornet

Final Score:

Air-to-Ground:  Rafale=3 - Super Hornet=3 (4 if you count the Growler)
Air-to-Air:  Rafale=4 - Super Hornet=2
Versatility/Logistics:  Rafale=1 - Super Hornet =2

Final Result:  Rafale=8 - Super Hornet=7 (8 if you count the Growler)

Another close one!  Are you sensing a pattern here?

Even with the Growler, I am declaring a win for the Rafale.  Since the emphasis on which is the best fighter, air-to-air capability acts as a tie breaker whenever possible.  

Both aircraft are excellent "Jack-of-all-trades" aircraft, with the Rafale coming out slightly ahead due to its stronger emphasis on air-superiorty without sacrificing the strike role.  The Rafale would have likely done even better with the addition of an HMD, while the Super Hornet could really use the upgraded engines and enclosed weapon pods of the Advanced Super Hornet concept.  

Since the topic of price is bound to come up...  Yes, the Super Hornet is indeed a cheaper aircraft.  As I have said before, it is likely the "safest" replacement for Canada's CF-18, but it lacks some of the other options' capabilities.  The Advanced Super Hornet would likely go a great deal toward improving the Super Hornet, but there is no "free lunch" here.  Full development of the Advanced Super Hornet would take money, negating one of the Super Hornet's biggest selling point.

The Rafale on the other hand, would be a fantastic selection with only three simple stipulations:  1) HMD installation.  2)  Standard NATO weapon integration.  3)  Canadian manufacturing and intellectual rights.  

Like all previous installments of FJFC, please do not take this too seriously.  As usual, this is to promote discussion, not to bring down any particular aircraft or to play favorites.  FJFC does not consider the really important factors like price, reliability, or how cool and aircraft looks.  

Comments?  Let me hear them!


  1. The Rafale actually has HMD. There are the TopSight and TopOwl from Thales, and the Gerfaut from SAGEM that are certified to be compatible with it. It's just that the French Air Force doesn't use them, possibly for budget reasons (Rafale works fine without them and the Ministry of Defense keeps getting its budget slashed, so any opportunity for even relatively small savings are used.) India, whenever they finally sign the contract, will presumably use the Samtel-built Divy Drishti, a variant of the TopSight/TopOwl helmet.

    As for NATO weapon integration, there are no obstacles. All hardpoints and avionics are to NATO standards. Integration costs would be minimal.

    And finally, if India can get full transfer of technology, including avionics source code, I don't see how Canada wouldn't get a lesser deal.

    Note that, as far as interoperability with the USN goes, a Rafale M landed on a US carrier and even got its engine replaced there.

  2. Very interesting and detailed analysis.
    While being very different aircrafts, this "fight" is a close call. You wrote almost everything, but some topics would in my opinion deserve discussion.
    About the EW suite for example : I have difficulties to find information about the AN/ALQ 214 EW system of the Rhino but, from my understanding, it doesn't include onboard-jammers. The towed-decoy is pretty much an expendable solution. So when EW capabilities are involved, and Growler set aside, Rafale jamming capabilities could win the day : that would be my personal tie-breaker in the Interdiction/Penetration and First look/First kill scores.

    In addition, the JASSM-ER range is indeed impressive but... is it even integrated on the Rhino? I have found no trace of that. Only that JASSM (the first version) is operational on Super Hornet and that JASSM-ER is currently integrated on B1 and will be (maybe?) integrated on Super Hornet... but will it be before 2020, your deadline for FJFC?

  3. On the topic of budget:
    In essence what you're saying is, yes the Rafale costs twice as much but to do the same job one would have to purchase both the Super Hornet and a Growler.. twice the fuel/ maintenace etc.. I don't see the savings

  4. What same job are you talking about?

    Two Growler escorting 12 advanced Super Hornet will win the war in minute one destroying all the air defences, navy and ground forces of your enemy and just using cheap jdams, not even Stand off weapons

    For the same price you will put in the air only 7 Rafales and few expensive stand off Scalp missiles. How many times you will have to repeat the operation and with out the surprise factor?
    The Rafale incursion in Lybia two years ago was against a non heavily protected area at the east side of the county, to destroy just 4 Lavs for the show.

    Once the USNavy and the Royal Navy uses their tomahawks to destroy the radars the rest continued destroying the rest of the forces of Gadafy cover by the Growlers, even the Rafales received data from the Growlers.

    The USNavy visited the heavily protected Tripoly with hornets and F-111 a decade before destroying the Gadafy palace. One F-111 was lost.

  5. Alrlght so you're saying that 7 Rafales couldn't do what 12 now Advanced Super Hornet and 2 Growlers can do.

    My point was budget because you started with that. Don't quote me on this but I think the Advanced Super Hornet will be costlier than a super hornet

    So perhaps 7 Rafales couldn't do what 9 or 10 Advance Super Hornet and 2 Growlers could. Okay I respect that.

  6. Yes, the advanced Super Hornet wil cost 10% more, so if the actual price for the Super Hornet is 55m the price for the ASH will be aprox. 60m. At the end roughly we are talking half price of the Rafale strike force.
    But you don't even need the full package of the ASH, just Super Hornets with the enclosed weapons pod acting with the Growlers.
    And I'm not even talking about the transition for the RCAF from Hornets to completely different European platform and provider.

  7. Understood, thanks for responding.

  8. I'm sure Australia paid far more than 55M for Rhinos, just sayin.....

  9. Ok, so, the Meteor was included in this compitition, but not in the Gripen one? Does this mean if there is a Gripen vs Rafale the Gripen won't be allowed the Meteor, but the Rafale will? Why such disdain for the Gripen, why put it at such a disadvantage?

  10. Off course, Including all the support and new staff. The same will apply for the Rafales.

  11. FYI The Cockpit of the Rafale will not fit our pilots when they are wearing winter survival gear. Advantage Hornet Though Either jet is better than the F-35 Also we can use existing weapons Advantage Hornet. Wait I would also take the Eurofighter. Even if I am a Hornet Lover.


  13. What is the price on the Growler, with the extra crew member?
    What is the price for the Advanced Rhino?

  14. Reason for the India pricetag is that it factors in the cost for transfer of technology and setting up an entire production chain in India. That drives the cost up dramatically. Rafale procurement budget for France isn't classified and showed that it was at about $100 million, VAT of 20% included. An order large enough to have the assembly line increase production rate would also drive the price down significantly.

    Afterwards, you have to consider that you do get offsets (50% for India, a proposed 100% for Canada) if you go with setting up local production. The price tag of setting up local production chains for getting total control of the technology will be similar no matter what fighter type you want.

  15. You do know that Boeing is working on a combo, F-18E and F-18G on one ship (F18GE).
    The Rafale has much much more range.
    Architect as well.

  16. I wanted to "expand" things somewhat now that we are in "round 2". In this case especially, the Meteor makes little difference... The Rafale is simply a better BVR fighter, with or without it.

    In the case of the Silent Eagle vs. Gripen, I wanted to bring attention to the disparity of the two fighters, as well. Giving the Gripen the Meteor might have been too much of a "magic bullet". I also didn't want to get to heavy into the "Meteor vs. AMRAAM" debate. (I may address that in a future post though...)

    Don't worry, future match ups will include the Meteor on the Rafale, Typhoon, and Gripen.

  17. The Register isn't exactly a great source. In true British tabloid tradition, it is sensationalist, opinionated, plays fast and loose with the facts.

  18. goose, before to answer that I would like to investigate the best sources. Until now I've being using the open data you can find in internet given by Boeing, roughly 50m go 55m for the USNavy. even if the price were up to 70m still competitive.

  19. Ok, even if they were not accurate, the price is huge.

  20. Sorry, this was the link I wanted to put

  21. Yeah and I assume that is the reason Boeing team up with Saab, that Saab need to catch up and not the other way around.

  22. Sure, to catch up with the Aesa technology?... or the American Engines?

  23. Yes like this engine failure

  24. Of the three stipulations you put for the Rafale, I think only #2 is relevant. As other said, HMD is available for the Rafale, it just that it's not used by the French Airforce. For point #3, Dassault has already publicly if not officialy mentioned that manufacturing can be done in Canada with full IP transfer, if Canada wishes so.

    However, #2 is really the dealbreaker between the Rafale and SH. If Dassault can't prove that integration of NATO standard armaments will be easy, fast and cost efficient, it's enough of a reason to choose the SH over the Rafale. Dassault really have to do more than simply state "It should technically be possible". They should give an idea of how long this integration process should take, how much will it costs, and how complex it will be.

    Anyway, one thing is sure, any of these two fighters would be a great addition to the RCAF. You can't make a bad choice between them.

  25. At least the pilot was not drunk like this one... or the problem was the software and flight controls? or too much win for the RC size fighter?

  26. And that's the small tinny flight controls airplane you want to land in the windy icy airfields of the wild canadian north? Even the Cheenok wins from Calgary will crash it.
    Watch what a big wings and extended fly controls can do from a carrier or a windy airfield.

  27. Yes and how about American software ?

  28. Those crashes have nothing to do with wind. The Gripen is very unstable by design and it took a long time to get the software for the flight control system right. Gripen development has zero dead pilots and the system regularly operates in the Arctic with a near perfect safety record. The Finns on the other side are quite frustrated by the intense and expensive maintenance required by the twin engine F18.

  29. At least the f-22 F-15 F-18 and F-16 are always ready to intercept he Russian bombers and Sukhoys, not like the Sweden Gripens that needs to count on the Danish F-16 to protect their airspace. The Gripen is just an over estimated small trainer acting like it can punch over its weight.

  30. Yes we can hope it is not just a dream and that they can handle the SW better than their engine maintenance

  31. It is due to that the military do want to be free and not due to Gripen.
    But if Norway is to be the measurement of the status of the american fighters 42 of 57 F-16 on the ground I do not think we can depend on the NATO support.

  32. Is curious how you are trying to compare your few airplanes ready just for airshows with the thousands of airplanes already built for the USNavy, USMarines and Canada that were at war over the last 35 years with millions of flying hours accomplished and hundreds of thousands of Tons of ordinance delivered, that can have "controlled crashes" every time they returned to the deck with weapons or to the very north of Canada.
    All the F -18 should be already replaced by Super Hornets instead of waste more time waiting for the F-35.
    Most of the F-18 are already flying way beyond their original planned life time and some of them are crashing and have material fatigue.

  33. Even if you build many planes in USA and use them in backyard places with no competition it do not state that they are the best around.

    You did have your own airshow engine mishap even with two engines.

    They are expensive to operate and maintain and need a lot of people to do so are your fighters like the Norwegians also on the ground instead of flying.

    And it is funny that Canada do not require to get access to the source code for the chosen winner. In the Canadian frigates radar system the Americans was sidestepped due to the problems with who was allowed to work with the systems and if it could be upgraded at all, by the way Saab delivered without any restrictions for Canada.

    So it seems more like a NIH, Not Invented Here, problem. I know that I read a long time ago that the Australians had blank pages in there Hornet manuals due to American policies on information.

  34. Maybe expensive for you, not for us. Canadian economy is much bigger then Swedish and our country is huge, the second largest in the world and we need a real plane, not a cheap cessna with missiles.
    How cares about your codes, we already have the third bigger aeronautical industry in the world, we don't just build bombarider airplanes, we also produce plenty of materials and components for plenty of different airplanes and helicopters, satellites and robotic arms that even go to mars. Canadian and american economy are totally integrated also the Aerospace defence with the Norad.
    You are so desperate to sell some airplane to keep your aeronautical industry that you are selling your codes for pennies.

  35. Don't waste your time asking super bug guy. He'll keep quoting the $55m per plane cost that doesn't include engines and ILS. Then compare it to the cost of an all-in contract price of other aircraft to make his case.
    Also, cost of buying a jet is just the tip of the iceberg. The cost of operating one until it is retired dwarfs the procurement costs.

  36. So why are you then not able to build your own fighter?

    It seems that you have a lot of issues with other overdue replacements, if there is not a money problem why do you not buy some new modern equipment or manufacture them then?

    And why did you not bought American equipment if you don't care especially when they also have to agree which people that is allowed to work with the equipment.

    Please understand that there is other manufacturers out there then the US companies and Saab.

  37. Because we don't need to do it. We don't foolish our people with the story of the non alignement, just to not upset the Russians, we are part of an alliance, the OTAN and in North America the NORAD. You talk about building your own fighter when the Gripen has plenty of components from other countries like the UK, and the most important part of the airplane, the engine, comes from the US. The only independent airplane in Europe is the Rafale, not the Gripen, not even the Eurofighter, but that has a great cost, the Rafale cost twice as much as the Super Hornet for pretty much the same capabilities and not the same ones as the Growler or ASH. and also their projected capabilities are not fully implemented yet.
    To start the Gripen NG program you wait for a partner like Swiss to decide to start the construction and when they leave the boat Brazil come to your rescue because your goverment already autorized the construction trusting in the Swiss. Let's see when the Brazilians sign the contract, I won't be surprised if the next president decide to cancel it for social and economical problems

    In the mean time, we prefer to built other interesting staff like this and if we want we could built most of the parts of the Super Hornet here.

  38. What about that 4 degree toe out for the stores on the Rhinos wings? That can't be good for speed and fuel efficiency. I suppose the center pod and conformal fuel tanks would alleviate some of that problem though.

  39. I think this start to be a bit funny, yes the US do have the NIH-problem but doing it yourself does not necessarily result in the best. Instead buying the best stuff and integrate it is smarter but you must be smart doing it also. And it is not just a fighter it is a system that shall work, check who NATO wanted to do the reconnaissance in Libya due to the quality.

    Do not need to build your own fighter is rather the equal to cannot do it.

    Yes small is find, we do build subs here in Sweden also, which the Americans cannot sink instead the subs can sink there carriers, so who needs fighters, and by the way Saab will now do the subs.

    And Bombardier do have problems with the two engines on there C Series, so maybe you need to look into your engines on a broader sense.

  40. Why are you being rude? Why not keep to the subject rather than be rude to people of other nationalities.

    Keep the discussion constructive and polite. You have actively tried to start a flame war for several threads. How about we all start using your language? This forum would be worth nothing.

    Doug seriously, what's the deal? If teenager tone and "discussion" is what you think is constructive then I disagree.

  41. The Rafale wins this fairly. I think it's a much more modern and well rounded system. I agree with Doug that it is the most well rounded system available. The question becomes whether Canada wants the better bombing capability compared to the Gripen at three times the operating costs.
    Another point I don't think you stress enough is the value of access to the technogy. Systems from USA come with "black boxes" – areas where the buyer has no access. No access to source code. This is significant. Jet fighters are hugely complex and it's important to bring those complexities to your own population and industry so that these can benefit. Brazil will manufacture 80% of their own Gripens in Brazil. Full access is given to all systems. The Rafale has a clear and significant advantage over the Super Hornet here.

  42. Good tight battle and what I feel is the two contenders. Both with the two engines, tail hooks and jack of all trades that Canada is looking for.
    The navy super hornets would be better off with the newer engines developed for the advanced hornet and should be integrating them at ever engine change.
    The Rafale has is all now, but as someone said the price has gone up, but is that bacause Dassault is handing the knowledge to India. What would the cost be if they where build in France? On the super hornet there is a cost to developed and the US navy is picking up some of the tab and maybe more of it with the delays and dispointment with the F35. Canada could team up with the navy and get this bird ready. My opinion is that Canada could go with either one of these birds, but the edge goes to the super hornet because of being close to the manufacture , politics, and the saving of integrating exist CF18 pilot to CF18S pilots.

    Could someone tell the French how to integrate a refuelling probe into there design, it always looks like forgot about it in the design of the aircraft and applied it later

  43. Hardly! The Gripen has actually been rejected by Boeing and Saab as the basis for the T-38 replacement. It's overkill for a trainer.

    The Gripen A was actually a far more capable fighter than the F-16 was when it was first introduced. The Viper didn't get BVR capability until the F-16C, while the Gripen has had AMRAAM capability from the start.

    The only two features the Gripen has ever sacrificed is range and payload. This has been addressed for the E/F models, which is close to the legacy Hornet for payload, and exceeds it for range.

  44. Sprry, I didn't know you were a Lady

  45. Two hornet airframes without engine and logistical support is equal to one rafale with a pair of engine and spares and support facilities.
    $55m was funny at first. Now its just irritating that it keeps coming up along with so many airshow and test flight videos that doesn't prove a point.
    Here are hard facts that will make him sleepless for months:
    1. Australia got 24 SH for $2.9B ($120+M per plane) and will cost them another $1.7B to keep those bugs buzzing for 10 years.
    2. Converting 12 SH to growler would have costs Australia another $230m but decided to procure 12 new ones for $1.5B.

  46. With a Growler you can protect the fleet, not just one airplane. With the costly spectra you just protect yourself. Wich one is more cost/effective. BTW, did you notices where was the first stryke if the Rafale? Not in the capital for sure.

  47. The super hornet will only evolve if someone buys it's, frankly they are a little late to the party and should have started earlier.

  48. Maybe this is Boeings way to flank the F-35? In the 70's they worked on the F15 and it was going to be the JET. Then the worked on the F16 on the side. There are around 350 F15's and 850 F16's. I see the F35 numbers going down and they will need that F16 to fill the gap, maybe a Boeing/Saab Gripten Trainer/ Fighter.

  49. So Mike Gibbons is a big lier?.
    As I know Australia do not have an aeronautical industrial support like Canada, who knows what they are buying.
    Canada can built those of airplanes, we even maintain an repair the USNavy F-18.

    This are the cost of tne airframes and engines according to Mike Gibbons.

    "Boeing would be able to cut the Super Hornet’s production rate from the current 48 per year to 24 and still maintain a similar cost structure. “Our practical minimum is two jets per month,” Gibbons said. The Boeing portion of F/A-18 costs—which does not include the General Electric F414 engines or the Raytheon-built electronic warfare suite—is just over $37 million. Under a reduced production rate, Boeing would expect to maintain that price, Gibbons said. The fly-away cost for the Super Hornet is less than $55 million, while the Growler costs roughly $9 million more.
    Potentially, Gibbons said, he could envision the Super Hornet in production through 2020.

  50. Cost.
    It is to expensive for one nation, unless you are the US , Russia, or China, to build an non revenue aircraft. The big guys are counting on other nations buying there aircraft. If you are fed up with what is out there, then you need to team up. That is why Saab, Dassault, and Bombardier should talk, but politics from the US is strong.

  51. No, sorry, but te Rafalies afaik did not get any data from Growlers. In fact they didn't want to fly with Growlers so as to use spectra easily. Remember ATLC 2009 where spectra located emitters that stayed unnoticed to F-16 CJ.

  52. What its really hilarious is your pride for the Gripens just fooling around the mediterranean to learn how the Nato operates, when the rest of the coalition including the Canadian CF/A-18 was taking the real action. Even the Harriers participated destroying targets.

    The real recognition and electromagnetic attack was made by the Growlers.

  53. Except that the prices you qhote are pure fantasy from indian press. Rafale fly away cost is officially documented buy buyer (french state), 89 M$ for the C version. Generally speaking, buyers numbers are more reliable... Again, assuming the ASH would cost 10% more than regular F-18 E is pure speculation.

  54. Here you go

    "Boeing would be able to cut the Super Hornet’s production rate from the current 48 per year to 24 and still maintain a similar cost structure. “Our practical minimum is two jets per month,” Gibbons said. The Boeing portion of F/A-18 costs—which does not include the General Electric F414 engines or the Raytheon-built electronic warfare suite—is just over $37 million. Under a reduced production rate, Boeing would expect to maintain that price, Gibbons said. The fly-away cost for the Super Hornet is less than $55 million, while the Growler costs roughly $9 million more.
    Potentially, Gibbons said, he could envision the Super Hornet in production through 2020.

  55. "Boeing would be able to cut the Super Hornet’s production rate from the current 48 per year to 24 and still maintain a similar cost structure. “Our practical minimum is two jets per month,” Gibbons said. The Boeing portion of F/A-18 costs—which does not include the General Electric F414 engines or the Raytheon-built electronic warfare suite—is just over $37 million. Under a reduced production rate, Boeing would expect to maintain that price, Gibbons said. The fly-away cost for the Super Hornet is less than $55 million, while the Growler costs roughly $9 million more.
    Potentially, Gibbons said, he could envision the Super Hornet in production through 2020.

  56. Mike Gibbons? Lol! He's the VP of the boeing f18/ea18 program. What do you expect of him?

    Anyway, any company can give any figure they wanna say to make a sale. That's what they do for a living. Saab says $40m per gripen c/d but thailand paid $71m each. Rafale says $80m but in India now its $120m. Boeing says $55m but Australians saw $120m painted all over the SH.
    Heck, Gibbons can even say it costs a penny but the sales record will tell you a different story.

    PS: I don't consider sales from home country a good source of info as those have different and more advantageous factors from a foreign sale.

  57. Making their combat debut earlier this year, the U.S. Navy's EA-18G Growlers wreaked havoc on Libya's air defenses and communication networks using high-powered jamming and AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation (HARM) missiles.

    But they didn't do it alone, flying alongside - and sharing their sensor data with - the French Rafale, British Tornado, and F-16s from the U.S. Air Force and other NATO countries.

    "We're the only NATO Airborne Electronic Attack platform," said Navy Lt. Matthew Driskill, an Electronic Systems Operator (ESO) with VAQ-129, a squadron that trains new Growler crews. "We're made to be plugged into any sort of multinational conflict or air operation and used effectively to support those assets."

  58. We already produce plenty of parts for the Super Hornet and other aircrafts of Boeing here in Canada, you can't just compare us with India or Australia.,-Space-Security

  59. Well, Dave did a small mistake on that one, i'll signal it to him...

  60. Not cool. Come on. None of us will make the decision. I give Sweden credit for building a good machine, especially considering their size.

  61. The NG is an excellent machine. Whether you like another aircraft more, it does not take away its strong points. I for one believe war is about money. The NG offers excellent value for what Canada does and needs. That's it, that's all. The rest is politics. You guys make good subs too.

  62. I have read with interest your comparison between Super Hornet and Rafale. However, i am not totally agree with you about the issue of compatibility between Rafale and US weapons. You have written "The Rafale on the other hand, would be a fantastic selection with only three simple stipulations: 1) HMD installation. 2) Standard NATO weapon integration. 3) Canadian manufacturing and intellectual rights." The standart NATO weapon integration on Rafale is already a reality into the air to ground weapons category. Rafale is fully compatible with GBU-12 Paveway 2 : Moreover a rafale with a WiPAK Kit of Raytheon has dropped GBU-49 in july 2012 : You could obvioulsy object that persist the issue of compatibility between US air to air missiles and the Rafale. But today, nobody could contest the superiority of METEOR on the current version of AIM-120. So does he exist a real interest to develop a possible integration of AIM-120 on Rafale ?

  63. I have read with interest your comparison between Super Hornet and Rafale. However, i am not totally agree with you about the issue of compatibility between Rafale and US weapons. You have written "The Rafale on the other hand, would be a fantastic selection with only three simple stipulations: 1) HMD installation. 2) Standard NATO weapon integration. 3) Canadian manufacturing and intellectual rights." The standart NATO weapon integration on Rafale is already a reality into the air to ground weapons category. Rafale is fully compatible with GBU-12 Paveway 2 : Moreover a rafale with a WiPAK Kit of Raytheon has dropped GBU-49 in july 2012 : You could obvioulsy object that persist the issue of compatibility between US air to air missiles and the Rafale. But today, nobody could contest the superiority of METEOR on the current version of AIM-120. So does he exist a real interest to develop a possible integration of AIM-120 on Rafale ?

  64. It is not your cowboy tactic that is the one to win with, you need information to be able to strike and that was what the Swedes delivered to the team.

    So you can check this document it seems that the Swedes educated NATO in some regards, you know it is a team effort to succeed.

    But maybe there is also one other person that need to be more humble about that there is more competence out there, but in this regard I am not so sure.

  65. Congratulations, you sound pretty proud of your humility.

    Thanks for the link, I'll revise later,


  67. Agree.
    I read somewhere that that's the reason Canada was offered $6.7B for 65 SH (I'll try to find it and post the link). That's $102+M each, pretty sweet compared to how much Australia paid for theirs. Buy still much higher than the $55M advertised.

  68. Maybe the refueling probe is the suggested design contribution for a future partner?

  69. I'm not so worried about the bombs, more worried about the integration of the AIM-9 Sidewinder and the AIM-120 AMRAAM. The RCAF already has a stockpile of these for the CF-18, and they will likely be used well in to the 2020s and beyond.

    While there is a possibility of switching to the Meteor, IRIS-T, or even the MICA, this likely wouldn't be done until the entire fleet was switched over to the new airframe. Having half-a-fleet of CF-18s using AMRAAMs and Sidewinders and the other half-a-fleet using MICAs and Meteors would be an extra logistic challenge.

    To be clear, I do not believe that integrating Canada's current CF-18 weapons into the Rafale would be difficult, but it is a factor. It would require certification at the very least. All of the other airframes (F-35, Gripen, Typhoon, Super Hornet) are pretty much "plug-and-play" in this regard.

  70. That is a great link, Kjell. Thanks!

  71. Although there's the stockpile, I think the logistic is even more important. When outside Canada, our airfighters operates from NATO airbases, usually american ones. Thus, our aircrafts should be able to rearm on theses airbases, which will not be possible without full NATO compatibility.

    I'm not sure about it, but I think that under the NORAD agreement, it's expected than US airfighters can be rearmed from Canadian airbases -as the reverse. Meaning that even if we choose to use the French weapon system, we will still have to stockpile AIM and Sidewinder "just in case".

    For Canada, it's just way more practical to use the same missiles as the USAF and USN. This compatibiliy is the main advantage of the F-18 over the Rafale: being able to rearm it on any NATO airbase, in addition to find parts and technicians on most of them, if need be. It really has nothing to do with which missile system is better.

  72. Probably that includes all the extra parts and support, not just the flyaway price per machine like in the case of the Rafales for India.
    Even so, that's even much better than the prices offered by Saab to Swiss, almost $160 per Grioen NG.
    I really doubt the Brazilians will sign the final contract with Saab.

  73. F-18E is an obsolete defective airframe design. It is has poor acceleration, dash speed and it's long range intercept speed is that of an airliner when the canards are beyond mach 1.2 armed to intercept. It shares poor ferry range with the F-35 well below the Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen E's 4,000km+. It has a defective wing/pylon design so poor that the best Boeing can do to compete and market it is to sugar coat the problem and remove the weapons pylons altogether and add comformal tanks and center weapons pods. Not improvements but accessories that all other fighter options could apply if required. The fact is the other canard options do not require to compensate for such a major defect.

    What the Gripen E can do with one F-414 engine just embarrasses the F-18E on two. Even in the engine reliability department the Gripen platfrom statistically is a safer jet to fly over Canada's arctic and oceans with it's proven reliability in over 205,000 flght hours. F-18E cannot make the same engine powerplant claims as it's record is not as good. Gripen E will fly further and faster with better agility, lower radar and heat signature with basic support reliably and cost effectively at 1/2 what the F-18E would cost. The F-18E has the dimensions and empty weight of the F-15E Strike Eagle yet is in no way can come close to matching the Eagle in range, payload and speeds. The focus of changes to the F-18E was to have a better carrier jet that can bounce on to boats with ordenance and performs useless poodle tricks at air shows while other jets like Gripen demonstrate practical and effective flying.

    F-18E is not an air superiority / interceptor fighter and it never was designed to be such.It is a strike jet. On a long range intercept the Gripen E would be 100 miles in front of it within 1/2 hour with exactly the same 6 missile load and better range. F-18E along with the F-35 are the slowest fighters in production in the west today while all other options are capable of armed super cruise. Super cruise capability is just on benchmark of fighters separating the steel from the rust and the F-18E is very rusty.

    F-18E is about massive control surfaces for carrier operations and an inefficient desin overall. The massive vertical, horizontal stabs , flaps and lex is not advanced design, it is an oversized jet for what it does inefficiently. Loved the CF-18E but the there is nothing "super" in the Super Hornet.

  74. As mentioned, something's I like about the Rafale is that it has super cruise and range
    Fairy range 3700km +(R) vs 3054km(SH)
    Combat range 1800 km(R) vs 720km(SH).

  75. Are you serious? Did you think Gripen was the reason the swedes did not send up fighters? Hilarious.

    Thats like saying a car is bad because the driver can't afford to drive it, Sweden can afford to fly the Gripen but sometimes chooses not to. With world class radar systems and anti-air systems, why would they send up a fighter for a couple of old unarmed russian planes on a training route?

  76. wow, that much text and none is relevant to the discussion. nice job embarrassing yourself.

  77. seriously dude. focus on the subject or leave. Your comments are stupid, irrelevant, and non-factual.

    Building a fighter with 100% domestic parts is really, really stupid, proved again and again throughout history.
    The Gripen E project would likely go through even without a initial partner, you don't know what you're talking about - also its not relevant!

    Also, please tell me what's wrong with sourcing parts from partner nations, giving you the absolute best performance per cost-unit possible, miles ahead (in both costs and performance) of a domestic solution (or even JSF solution with a few partner countries).

  78. Dude, learn the difference between Gripen and Sweden, they're not the same.

    You can't blame a fighter for not fighting when its the country that forbids it! Incredibly stupid.
    The Gripen performed extremely well in the Libya mission and got appraised from all directions.

  79. You focus, we are talking about the Super Hornet and Rafale. Take your stupid super expensive little toy and leave.

  80. The point of view of CarlJF is really interesting, because he proves that the choice between Rafale and Super Hornet is not only a choice between two aircraft, but between two visions of the future of RCAF. The Super Hornet's choice allows RCAF to keep a complete interoperability with USAF. On the operational plan, the selection of Super Hornet is logic as the recent RCAF's history proves that canadian combat aircrafts intervene systematically into a US/NATO battle plan (operations Friction, Mirador, Echo...) The problem with Super Honet is not operational but commercial : Boeing commercial policy is far less competitive than Dassault's offer. The Super Hornet will be built at Saint-Louis, technology transfer is very limited (Boeing refuses to transfer source codes to canadian firms, like during FX-2 brazil competition) and it shall be also possible to implement backdoors on the canadian Super Hornet by US intelligence service. On the opposite, Rafale Team (Dassault, Thales, Saffran) propose to Canada a complete construction of Rafale on Canada's ground, tranfer of 100% source code and the possibility for canadian firms to 'Canadianized' the Rafale. It seems obvious that the Rafale is a better choice for the development of Canada's aviation industry than the Super Honret. To sum up, if RCAF choosed an "auxiliary american air force" with the sole goal to support USAF during major air combat operations, the selection of Super Hornet would be logical. If the idea was to develop a canadian aviation industry, and to avoid a situation of complete dependency regarding the american aviation corporation like Boeing and Lockeed-Martin (a situation partly generated by the forced abandonment of the CF 105 Arrow Program...^^) , then the Rafale would be the better choice, but a choice that involves the political cost to sacrifice the complete interopability with USAF.

  81. 2-3 years ago I was at the air show in Québec and the CF-18 had an engine problem at take off. The demonstration had to be cancelled.
    Do the CF-18 have some engine related problem or what? Do they have flight restrictions of any sort right now?

  82. The Super Hornet is not just an interceptor, it's a multirrol that can intercept perfectly exactly as the Hornets are doing over the artic right now. The advanced Super Hornet with conformal fuel tanks, EPE engines with 20% more thrust (giving a positive t/wratio) and a clean configuration, just with the enclosed weapons pod theoretically could give the cqpacity of super cruise but that's not critical for a country with the continental size of Canada so far away from Russia and with powerfull radars and allert systems.
    For a small country like Sweden super cruise can be a must to have if they want to intercept Russian bombers in minutes before they arrive to their capital but as we saw, that's not always the case in Sweden for different reasons.
    The more efficient engines will give the Advanced Super Hornet more range, two engines more opportunities to return save not just over the artic but even after being impacted by a missile at war, like in the case of a Hornet in Irak, their big wings and controls give the Super Hornet great maneuverability fully loaded with missiles and bombs for close air support or interdiction close to the ground and mountains and it's bigger size and great electrical generation great power to be a real electronic attack airplane in the case of the growler, with a powerful aesa radar and better refrigeration system that can give more range detection and a very clear image of what's going on, almost as a picture.
    The Advanced Super Hornet seems to be designed with Canada needs in mind, as the Hornet is doing so efficiently today.

  83. Sweden has history of independance, we sleep beside the elephant.

  84. Fitting the 414 EPE engines does increase performance but reduces durability and hence makes operational costs go up significantly, making the Super Hornet with this configuration even more expensive. Also, as you wear out engines for a twin engine fighter the pressure on the support structure is far higher.

    You could put the 414 EPE in the Gripen E too. Thrust-to-weight would be insane at circa 1.7.

    Supersonic cruise speeds are even more important in a large country with longer distances intercept and identify unknown intruders. Radar and alert system does not provide identification - they only tell you if something is there but not what it is.

  85. Yes and no, the delta wing design goes way back to the 50's. They have added improvements to the delta wing and the canards add a new dimension (thanks Sweden). But the f18 has great wings too. Again, look at the Russians, they started with the concept of what is the best wing deisgn and went from there. All wing designs have there good and bad and the F35 is bad.

  86. The operational cost of the Super Hornet are not expensive, those cost are reasonable for it's size an capabilities as a tween engine and Canada can pay it. The operational cost of the Super Hornet are even cheaper than the CF/A-18 we operate today.
    To intercept bombers we have bases up to the North, as it was always demonstrated, we have more than enough time to intercept any bomber with our Hornets, with the EPE engines we will have even more time.
    Even more, we don't must to have the 65 airplanes with those EPE engines, just some ot them dedicated to that specify task if necessary.
    Two engines in the huge Artic is always a plus, it's worth it, the same applies for the Growles with more electrical power as dedicated electronic attack platforms with a powerful Aesa radar.
    The Gripen is a good choice for Sweden, the Advanced Super Hornet is a great choice for Canada.

  87. The 22 gripen ng offered to the swiss is actually for $3.3B, so that's $150M per plane. And that includes mission planning systems, spares and support, training, and certification.
    Australians had to cough up another $1.7B for that aside from the $2.9B SH buy which only included initial spares, support and traning.
    The rest of the $3.5B deal is for the lease of 11 gripen-d for five years including maintenace and traning.

    The indian $120M rafale(rumored to get more expensive til the finalization of the contract) is similar with the Australian$2.9B SH buy but with the license to build it.

  88. I always new the Super Hornet can take off in less than 300 meters fully loaded.
    At the end of fhis video from this week en the Riat 2014 we can see how little space it needs to landing with 8 missiles. As we can see is bot just the Harrier, Gripen or F-35 that can operate from short runways.

  89. Speeds and range are important in a country the size of Canada. Especially in the very uncertain next 30 years best to have all the bases covered (literally) for the CF-18 replacement.

    F-18E is the slowest fighter in service and production in the west. The F-18E is not of interceptor quality. They are selling a multi billion dollar deal fighter and like Lockheed Martin's marketing department, Boeing will spin the conformal tanks and weapons pods as improvements instead of what it really says and that is a validation there are serious engineering design flaws. That is what their marketing is paid to do. And then ask yourself if Canada should be buying a jet for 30 years with such engineering flaws? A jet that every other future fighter around the world (except F35) will be able to run down, run away from or out maneuver. Saab has officially stated a long time ago that the EPE engine is available if the customer wants it. No problem! If the power plant delivers on GE's claims then the Gripen E+ would be a stunning performer with the best thrust to weight around. With an EPE Gripen E the performance improvement would be building on what is the most efficient fighter design available. The EPE engine in Gripen would be building on excellence in fighter design unlike the F-18E which is compensating and pushing a strike jet through the air to be competitive. To use the EPE on the F-18E is like putting a candle on a cow pie. It still does not make it a birthday cake. F-18E is not an air superiority / interceptor fighter. If Canada is serious about air space sovereignty for the uncertain future then it must consider such an aircraft. Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen E are the only 3 options of that caliber offered to Canada.

  90. I do not think space sovereignty , in the purest form, is what worries the government, in terms of an aircraft.

  91. Maybe it is time for Canada to clearly define what it wants a fighter for then. Define the missions with a budget to buy and a budget to fly. Problem has been they bought into the F-35 and then realized they have to make the mission and budget fit the F-35.

  92. Mach +1.8 is good enough and with the EPE engines could be even better, the same for the range.

    About the air superiority and sovereignty, you make a big mistake thinking the Super Hornet can't defeat any other airplane out there, the combination of Aesa Radar + the Jammers from the Growler demonstrate they can defeat even a pure Stealth fighter like the F-22 and at lower speeds it can manoeuvres like not other, combining the HMD and Aim-9X.

    Even Carlo Koop noticed

    2.7 Observations

    The Super Hornet is a fighter with exceptional handling qualities, even by modern fighter standards, which even a novice can handle comfortably and with confidence at the edge of the low speed manoeuvre envelope.

    The point which Boeing and the US Navy have made most convincingly, is that the aircraft's flight control software is so robust that even a beginner on the type can fly it without embarrassing himself too badly. Sceptics should note that test pilot comments about fighters with this generation of flight controls being as easy to fly as a Cessna 172 are indeed correct. There is no room for argument here, as I had the opportunity to observe first hand!

    In the hands of an experienced combat pilot, such flight control software means that the pilot can be wholly focussed on the furball in progress, and need not devote any thought to pushing the aircraft past the edge into a uncontrolled departure and resulting risk of a ground impact or successful enemy missile shot. The importance of a substantially departure resistant aircraft, especially if encumbered with stores, cannot be understated - carefree handling translates directly into combat effectiveness.

    In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30. The analogue and early generation digital flight controls with hard-wired or hard-coded AoA limiters used in the Russian aircraft are a generation behind the Super Hornet and a much more experienced pilot will be required for the Russian types to match the ease with which the Super Hornet handles high alpha flight regimes.

    The reports emanating from carrier landing trials performed in the US cannot be disputed, the aircraft is a sheer delight in the circuit and will take much of the anxiety out of night and bad weather traps, especially for nugget fighter-attack pilots.

    The cockpit ergonomics build upon two decades of Hornet experience, and make for a very comfortable and easy to use cockpit environment. Again, a novice pilot will find the MFD modes easy to navigate and easy to follow. The colour moving map display makes navigational orientation ridiculously easy, against the mental chores of VOR/DME/TACAN, radar mapping and INS/map-on-the-knee navigation. The prospect of MIDS/RWR/radar/IFF tracks being overlayed on the moving map will take much effort out of maintaining wider area situational awareness.

    The radar is very easy to use in MMTI, GMTI and SAR spot mapping modes, and provides an excellent tool for highly accurate all weather maritime strike, littoral strike and battlefield interdiction operations. In particular, the ability to interleave MTI and surface mapping modes is exceptionally useful for resolving and identifying moving surface targets of opportunity.

    In conclusion, the reports of the Hornet's exceptional high alpha handling characteristics are provably correct. Established Hornet users should not be disappointed by this aircraft!

  93. The canards all have completely care free handling. That is nothing unique to the Super Hornet.

  94. We cooperate with USA with NORAD (early warning) but fighters fall into NATO. We tend to get 100 to 150 do it all aircraft ... American made affordable aircraft.
    F-35 is out of character but I think we jumped on it because we were permitted "to play" on the same field thinking that all the big issues would be gone and that nobody would worry about / notice the total invoice. If only the Russians kicked the crap out of their neighbours ... the cost of weapons becomes irrelevant.
    I still think a super cruising NG with a drop tank would be plenty for interception,dog fighting and precision bombing duties. I think Rhino and the SH + Growler will squeak through. The wild card, homemade Rafale taste real good.

  95. Regarding the Stealth Advanced Super Hornet and its supposed lack of air superiority capacity , in case the Amraams don't were able to destroy their targets at long distance with out being detected, arriving in to a dogfight situation, in this video we can see how the Rafale clearly lock on the Super Hornet four times, but on those same maneuvers we can see how the Super Hornet is in position to easily launch the Aim-9X three times to the Rafale, between seconds 0.06_0.10 / 0.32_ 0.38 / 0.45_0.51

    To have an idea how it works, here is another video of the Super Hornet showing the station 1 with the 9X activated when the Mig 29 is passing by and the pilot is flying following the targets with the Helmet mounted display

    Here is another video that shows how the missiles can super maneauver to destroy the target from incredible positions.

    The arrival of the Helmet Mounted Display and the off boresight missiles of 4 gen like the Aim-9x or the python V have completely changed the rules of the classic dogfights.

    In this video

    we can see how the Raptor is trying to scape from the Rafale.
    The Raptor pilot doesn't have a HMD and is in clear disadvantage in dogfight.

  96. It is always hard to see the landing distance if not a full stop is included, a measurement in Google maps indicate 1.6 km to leaving the runway which of course is not the landing distance.

    A comparison with the Gripen's capacity on a road.



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