via Scout Warrior
A series of advanced technologies are being introduced into what Boeing calls its Block 3. It introduces new sensors suites, range extension and potentially stealthier attributes that Boeing says will make it a perfect companion for the F-35.The Navy is going all in on the Advanced Super Hornet it appears. Awesome.
“There will be real complementary capabilities,” Dan Gillian, Boeing F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler programs vice president. told Scout Warrior in an interview. He compared the future Super Hornets with JSS and EA-18G Growler electronic attack and warfare aircraft. “This is what it needs to be viable in the 2020s and 2030s.”
Here’s what Boeing has in mind.
The aircraft will have enhanced network capability with a system that improves computing power (DTP-N), network throughput (TTNT) and integration between the sensor and platform, which will allow large amounts of data on and off the airplane and make F/A-18 a smart node on the network. This also will help It also increase ability to receive targeting information from platforms like the F-35, EA-18G and the E-2D Hawkeye.
The aircraft will have longer range with low-drag, stealthy conformal fuel tanks. The shoulder-mounted tanks can carry 3,500 pounds of fuel and reduce drag, allowing the aircraft to operate longer, go faster, and/or carry more weight.
The Block 3 Super Hornet also will feature long-range detection with Infrared Search & Track (IRST). The long-range sensor can detect and target threats without having to depend on radar, generating a multi-ship, common tactical picture at long range and allowing the Super Hornet to operate as a smart sensor node on the network.
Pilots will be able to manage of the enhanced situational awareness with a new Advanced Cockpit System -- a 10 x 19-inch touchscreen display provides the pilot with the capability to see, track and target multiple long range targets generated by the common tactical picture.
If some of this sounds familiar, that’s because part of the package was what Boeing a year or so ago had called its “Advanced Super Hornet” offering. “We have matured our thinking,” Gillian says. “We’re thinking of how to complement with Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) in the future fight. We’re making the F-18 a smart node on the NIFC-CA network … to contribute and share.”
He adds, “We’re embracing the power of the networked carrier network. With the DTP-N, we’ve got the distributed targeting processor, a big computer that’s a Growler program of record. With TTNT, we’ve got a big data pipe that we’re moving over from Growler and E-2D. The IRST sensor is a key aspect of Block 2, with the AESA it can fuse information. So, we have a big computer and a big data pipe that can move data around.”